THE Philippine National Police (PNP) has activated on Wednesday its crisis management committee to ensure the close monitoring of the situation in Marawi City where an encounter between the government troops and armed members of the Maute Group took place on Tuesday evening.
Rodrigo Duterte, president of the Philippines, has declared martial law in his country's South for 60 days.
The US and other Western governments also warned this month that terrorists were planning to kidnap foreigners in tourist hotspots in the western and central Philippines, adding to longstanding advisories of abduction threats in Mindanao.
Daesh-linked militants swept through a southern Philippine city, beheading a police chief, burning buildings, seizing a priest and his worshippers and raising the flag of Daesh, authorities said Wednesday.
Villegas says the gunmen are demanding the government recall its forces.
Residents reportedly identified the gunmen as core group members of the Maute Group, said Herrera.
Extremists also abducted eight people as fighting ensued in Barangay Basak Malulut, scene of the initial encounters between the Maute terror group and personnel of the Army's 103rd Brigade.
Police clashed with the gunmen near the hospital, leaving one officer seriously wounded and one of the extremists dead, she added. "There is no light and there are Maute snipers all around".
ISIS banner planted on a Maracity City street.
Violence in Marawi began Tuesday when security forces raided the hideout of Abu Sayyaf commander Isnilon Hapilon, who has proclaimed allegiance to Islamic State. The bureau has placed him on its own list of Most Wanted Terrorists.
Philippine foreign secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said he informed his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov of Mr Duterte's decision to fly home early to deal with the crisis. He later clarified martial law applied to all of the Mindanao region. I hate to do it. "There will be no guarantee that it will not last until the end of my term", Duterte said. "I have a serious problem in Mindanao and Daesh footprints are everywhere".
It has been blamed for a bomb attack that killed 15 people in southern Davao city, President Rodrigo Duterte's hometown, last September and a number of attacks on government forces in Lanao, although it has faced setbacks from a series of military offensives.