manila - President Duterte says he wants to expand the state of emergency in southern Philippines to the whole country. The army is carrying out fierce fighting with militants on the island of Mindanao, where Muslims have been fighting for autonomy for years. Certainly three soldiers have died.
According to the president, a terrorist group who is affiliated with Islamic State (IS) has hijacked a policeman. Also, members of the organization, called Maute, hosted a priest and thirteen other Christians.
The violence broke out yesterday in the city of Marawi, 800 kilometers from the capital of Manila, when the army came in search of the leader of the group. Warriors razed through the city and stalled buildings, including a church. They also occupied a hospital and a prison. Thousands of Philippines from the area were beaten.
Duterte broke his visit to Russia yesterday because of the fighting in his country. He asked Russia for support and weapons in the fight against the terrorist movement. The president has said he wants to tackle the militants hardly. He says he wants to take the state of siege for a year if necessary. 'I will not hesitate to put everything in order to protect and maintain the Philippine nation,' said Duterte.
Since the fall of dictator Ferdinand Marcos in 1986, the state of siege was no longer proclaimed in the country.