Displaced Marawi residents allowed to return to peripheries of Philippine City

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Cii Radio| Ayesha Ismail| 31 July 2017| 07 Zhul Qadha 1438

Manila: Authorities allowed residents to return to the peripheries of a southern Philippine city that four Daesh-inspired Filipino-Muslim terror groups have occupied since May 23.

“Authorities have declared areas near Marawi City — they are far from the battle zone — and those at the peripheries of Lake Lanao as safe zones. They were not previously occupied by Filipino-Muslim terror groups, and not a hot spot of terror groups. We have been slowly allowing displaced residents to return to these places,” Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said in Manila on Saturday.

However, he admitted, residents of Marawi City proper have not been allowed back yet. Citing one exception, Padilla sad, “Earlier, we have allowed personnel of the Mindanao State University to return, prepare for school operation, and start classes there in August.”

Those qualified to return home were instructed to undergo a screening process, confirm their identities and secure safe conduct passes. “Once they qualify, escorts will bring them home to ensure their safety,” said Padilla.

But several displaced people have been returning to their homes, especially in banned areas, since Friday, without undergoing the procedure prescribed by authorities, some reports said.

Task Force Ranao commander Brigadier General Ramiro Rey posted in public places the names of 12 villages in Lanao del Sur where residents could safely return.

Some 400,000 residents, 200,000 of them from Marawi City, were displaced by the two-month terror and counter-terror strikes.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in the southern region starting May 23. The Supreme Court granted his request to extend martial law in Mindanao until the end of the year.

Clashes in Marawi have killed more than 620 including 471 Filipino-Muslim terror groups, 114 government forces and 35 civilians since May 23.

Source – Gulf news