Marawi Picturebook: A Year on, Philippine City’s Residents Struggle

BenarNews staff
Marawi, Philippines

A family escapes from Marawi amid fighting between government forces and pro-IS militants who seized the southern Philippine city, May 2017. (Richel V. Umel/BenarNews)


Residents survey the damage during a visit to what was the main battle area in Marawi, May 6, 2018. (Jeoffrey Maitem/BenarNews)


A baby carrier is seen in an abandoned house in Marawi, while graffiti describes Maute group militants as followers of Satan. (Felipe Villamor/BenarNews)


A soldier stands guard in front of a damaged mosque in Marawi, April 9, 2018. (Felipe Villamor/BenarNews)


A father and son who were forced to flee pray at a mosque in Iligan city, about 38 km (23.6 miles) north of Marawi, April 10, 2018. (Felipe Villamor/BenarNews)


A man surveys damage inside a Roman Catholic Church during a visit to Marawi’s former main battle area, May 8, 2018. (Jeoffrey Maitem/BenarNews)


Residents check what remains of their homes in Marawi, May 8, 2018. (Jeoffrey Maitem/BenarNews)


A common grave yard on the outskirts of Marawi contains wooden markers for victims who could not be identified, April 8, 2018. (Felipe Villamor/BenarNews)


Alamina Barapantao checks out a family photo album while surveying the damage to her home in Marawi, May 8, 2018. (Jeoffrey Maitem/BenarNews)


Residents take a break inside what used to be their walled-up homes in Marawi, May 8, 2018. (Jeoffrey Maitem/BenarNews)

One year after Islamic State-linked extremists seized Marawi in the southern Philippines and unleashed a ferocious five-month battle with government forces, locals are trying to put their lives back together amid the city’s bombed-out landscape.

The militants, led by Isnilon Hapilon and the Maute clan, launched their attack on May 23, 2017.  They targeted Marawi, the only predominately Muslim city in the largely Catholic country.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the military to respond with strength – ground troops backed up by air strikes drove surviving miltants to surrender in October. In all, 1,200 people, mostly militants including Hapilon, died during the fighting, according to the military.

Since then, the roughly 200,000 residents who were forced to flee have been allowed to return to comb through the rubble to find remants of their lives before the fighting broke out. Many areas remain off limits as troops remove unexploded ordnance left over from bombing runs and from the fleeing militants.


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