BEIRUT, LEBANON (7:45 P.M.) – Groups of people who managed to escape the fighting in Marawi arrived at a madrasa in the city on Saturday. The army says that more than 150 people were rescued on Saturday, 46 of them children.
Among the escapees was Noor Lucman, an Islamic writer who helped shelter Christians from the Islamic State-affiliated (IS; formerly ISIS/ISIL) attackers. Lucman described proecting a group of Christians who were carrying out repair works at his home. “I had an ordeal because one day before the attack, there were some Christian workers who were in the house, fixing the small tower,” he said. “So when it happened, they could not leave the city. So I had to take responsibility and protected them.”
Lucman went on to explain that when the IS-affiliated fighters came knocking at his door he told them to leave. “If they knew that there were Christians in my house, they would all be beheaded and executed,” he stated.
Over 150 people have already died in the clashes after violence broke out on May 23, when Maute fighters gunned down several people in Marawi in response to the arrest of the alleged leader of the local IS branch, Isnilon Hapilon. Dozens of gunmen would go on to burn several buildings and plant the black flag of IS in the city centre.
President Rodrigo Duterte has declared martial law in the area for a period of 60 days.