13 Marines Killed In Marawi Siege

On May 23, the Maute group attacked Marawi City in the Philippines. Marawi is the capital of province Lanao del Sur, which is located on one of the largest islands of the Philippines. The Maute group is a pro-Islamist faction who allegedly began the battle in order to establish a base of operations against the idyllic backdrop of the mountains, valleys, and lakes of Marawi.

Shortly after the attack on May 23, President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law on the island, and since then the Filipino army has been battling the Islamic group. During this time, there have been tens of thousands of Filipino civilians internally displaced and in need of emergency supplies. As the population of Marawi is only around 201,785, this is a sizable portion of the population. The siege came to a head on June 9 when, after a 14-hour fight, which was described as an “intense fire fight” by army spokesman Jo-Ar Herrera, at least 13 marines and hundreds of civilians were killed. This has been said to be the deadliest single-day toll for military forces against the Maute group.

The Islamist militant group has proven to be elusive, but President Duterte stated that “the ISIS footprints are everywhere.” The group appears to have split into several smaller factions and have been hiding out in citizens’ houses and mosques. There have been reports of the militant group using Filipino hostages as human shields in order to dissuade military forces from carrying out attacks when found.

This attack was mostly unexpected and came about after months of President Duterte publicly stated that he was attempting to end the allegiance between the Philippines and the United States in favour of an allegiance with Russia and China. Despite this, the Philippines government requested the United States aid in combatting the attack. With that said, troops have been sent from the United States, and Al-Jazeera reporter, Jamela Alindogan, has stated that the US troops will most likely assist the Filipino army from the air by providing technical and intelligence support.

While military action is never acceptable, the siege in the Philippines has shown how important it is for smaller nations, and even bigger ones, to have worldwide allies in order to have access to aid them when or if terrorist groups attack. This is particularly true in light of the terror attacks happening all around the world as of late. While the United States have not aided the Philippines’ military on the ground, there can be no doubt that the technical and intelligence support that they are providing is invaluable.

Nonetheless, this battle comes as a shock to many, as although the Philippines is the eight largest Asian country, it is still widely viewed as being a smaller nation, particularly as it is split up into many small islands. This goes to show that while it may seem as though the attacks occurring in Turkey, Iraq, England, and other states are miles away, a terrorist attack can occur anywhere.

Letitia Smith

Letitia is in her fourth year of study, working towards a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Criminal Justice.
Letitia Smith