PHILIPPINES—A group aligned with ISIS is currently attacking Malawi City in the southern region of the Philippines, burned the Cathedral, and taken Father Chito Saganob as a hostage along withat least 12 parishioners and church workers. The militant group as seized the local hospital, jail, city hall, fire trucks, set up blockades, burned Catholic school, and are recruiting men from the street as they pillage the city. Patients are being expelled from the hospitals and medical professionals held hostage to take care of the radical’s wounded.
Women, children, and elderly were evacuated from the city as quickly as possible, many with no more than the clothes on their back. There is currently a city-wide power outage—much of the population are hiding in their homes in fear of their lives.
While the Philippines are predominately Roman Catholic, Marawi City is in the Mindanao region and is known for being over 90% Muslim. President Duterte— outspoken in the media—is opening up martial law in the south for 60 days, vowing to be “harsh” while dealing with the radicals who have “forced his hand.” Martial law could be extended as long as a year.
Troops have sealed off the exits of Marawi City and are conducting a door to door search for the estimated fifty gunman who gained entry into the city and attacked.
Please lift up this city, region and country in prayer, especially for peace of mind and safe return of Fr. Chito and those taken hostage with him.