Filipino civilians in besieged city of Marawi forced to join Isil and become sex slaves, army says

Tears for the victims of Marawi – where some residents are being forced to become terrorists’ sex slaves

Civilians trapped by Isil-affliated groups in the besieged Filipino city of Marawi are being forced to join the fighting, loot and become sex slaves to militants, the army said on Tuesday.

According to recent escapees, hostages inside Marawi were being forced to convert to Islam, carry wounded fighters and marry terrorists from the Maute group, who invaded the city last month, said military spokesman Jo-Ar Herrera.

“They are being forced to be sex slaves, forced to destroy the dignity of these women,” he said.

“This is what is happening inside, this is very evident..these are evil personalities.”

Most of Marawi’s 200,000 citizens have fled the Muslim-majority city since it was attacked on 23 May by the local Maute and Abu Sayyaf organisations, who both pledge loyalty to Isil.

Despite heavy aerial bombardment, which has destroyed much of the city centre, the militants have been able to hold off the army for five weeks, using snipers and rocket-propelled grenades.

Their combat capability, access to heavy weapons, and the presence of foreign fighters has raised fears that the siege of the city is part of a wider campaign for Isil to gain a foothold in Southeast Asia.

So far 387 people have died in Marawi, including 27 civilians and 70 servicemen. According to conservative estimates, 300-1,000 civilians may also be starving and struggling to survive in the battle zone.

If confirmed, the army’s claims suggest that they are also facing the same horrors endured by the victims of Isil’s campaign of terror across Iraq and Syria.

In a Telegraph interview, city official Hussein Datuharun backed the assertions of forced recruitment.

“They [militants] put checkpoints all over the city and then they recruit only men, saying you join our group or we will kill you,” he said.

“That’s why the fight is still continuing. Many people who are not willing to join but are forced by the armed groups.”

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