Amnesty International: Militants, Philippine Troops Violated Law in Marawi Siege

Marawi city, the Philippines. Photo: AP

Amnesty International said Friday it has documented violations of humanitarian law, some amounting to war crimes, during the five-month conflict between Philippine government troops and Islamic State-allied militants who laid siege to the southern city of Marawi.

The human rights group said the militants committed unlawful killings, hostage-taking, pillage and mistreatment of prisoners. They allegedly used child soldiers and murdered civilians, which is a war crime, with some of their targets said to have been singled out because they were Christian.

Government forces allegedly tortured and mistreated detainees and looted, Amnesty said in its new report.

The siege of Marawi raged from May 23 until the government declared it over on Oct. 23. More than 1,100 combatants and civilians were killed, including more than 900 Filipino and foreign militants, and about half a million people were displaced by the prolonged and widespread fighting.

The military’s bombing of militant-held areas of the city wiped out entire neighborhoods and killed civilians, highlighting the need for an investigation into compliance with humanitarian law, Amnesty’s report said.