Maranaos to AFP: ‘Don’t burn our city, stop air strikes’

Houses burning in Marawi City due to air strikes by the military in pursuit of the Maute Group. Photo by TataMusanifah Didaagun
Maranaos to AFP: ‘Don’t burn our city, stop air strikes’

Several residents of Marawi City have taken to social media to appeal to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to stop air strikes, which have reportedly injured and killed several civilians.

While the government has yet to release official figures, a report by ABS-CBN reveals that several Maranaos have been injured and seen their companions die because of artillery strikes. The AFP, however, has denied that there have been casualties.

Our earlier report confirmed that at least one civilian injury. Suara Bangsamoro said that it is difficult to confirm other reports that are coming in because of the ongoing air strikes.

Netizen Maulana P. Macadato, who earlier posted the viral photo of a white van mounted with an ISIS flag outside his window, has posted as his Facebook profile an appeal: “Mr. President, we are endangered not by the Maute Group but by your air strikes. Please stop your air strikes.”

Macadato’s Facebook profile describes him as an election officer of the Commission on Elections.

Netizen Abulkhair M. Alibasa, who in his Facebook profile described himself as regional coordinator of the Bangsamoro Successor’s Generation Network, said:

Netizen Aslani Toti Montilla posted:

Netizen TataMusanifah Didaagun, which in her Facebook profile described herself as Board of Director at Tactical Foundation Training & Assessment Center, Inc. posted:

Netizen Mohammad Bin Abdullah Guro said:

Netizen Nada Eem Bee posted:

Netizen Abdisa Sultan:

A collection of screen grabs by Sittie Ayra Yusoph Abedin:

In an interview with Altermidya, Drieza Abato Lininding, vice-president of the Bangsamoro Movement for Peace and Development, said that contrary to the AFP’s claim that they are conducting “precision” air strikes, such strikes cannot tell civilians from the terrorists.

He also fears the AFP’s statement that most of the residents of Marawi City are “sympathizers or supporters” of the Maute Group.

Walang kumakanlong sa kanila, walang may gusto sa kanila. Sapilitan ang ginagawa nila sa mga tao…May mga kuwento nga na sa labanan dito na communities, lumaban sila (mga sibilyan), nakipagbarilan sila sa Maute Group (No one is coddling them, nobody wants them here. They are forcing themselves onto the people…It is even said that some civilians fought the Maute Group themselves),” Lininding said, referring to residents that carry licensed firearms.

Houses in Marawi City destroyed by air strikes. Photo by TataMusanifah Didaagun

He added that he opposes Martial Law because in the end, it is the civilians who will suffer the consequences: “Pwede naman silang gumamit ng puwersa nang walang Martial Law. Yang mga armadong grupo na yan, iiwan din nila ang Marawi kapag nagkaubusan na ng bala eh. So ang mangyayari dito dahil under Martial Law, kami ngayon ang pagbubuntungan ng galit ng mga sundalo, lalo na ‘yung mga may kasamahang namatay. Iha-harass kami. Iha-house-to-house ‘yan. Baka sunugin pa ‘yung mga bahay, tulad ng nangyari sa Zamboanga seige.” (They can use force without Martial Law. Those armed groups, they will leave Marawi if their bullets run out. But since we are under Martial, we will be the ones who will bear the brunt of the soldiers’ rage, especially those whose colleagues died. They will harass us. They will go house-to-house. They might even burn our houses, like what happened during the Zamboanga seige.)

Report by Ilang-Ilang Quijano

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