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Untold stories: Marawi crisis through the eyes of residents

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Appalling stories untold by media have surfaced on social media about the present condition of the area-said to be ransacked by suspected ISIS faction the Maute group.

In an account by concerned local Haron Ar-Rashid S. Dima, he detailed the gruesome events currently transpiring in the war-ravaged province.

“I was told my school is being burned to the ground. I was informed the city jail is on fire. I was messaged the local hospital is taken over by these men in black hoods,” he said clearly shaken.

Jomar Sharief, another native of Marawi, expressed the same sentiments, chronicling the situation in a Facebook update.

“ATM. HINDI PO KAMI OKAY DITO!! Let’s be true and not fool the media about what’s happening atm to our place. May mga nasusunog sa town and we’re not hearing any Fire truck sirens or what. And now lights are out and we’re hearing gunshots again.”

(We are not fine here! The Town is being burned to the ground and we’re not hearing any fire truck responding to the scene. And now lights are out and we’re hearing gunshots again.)

Allegedly, the ISIS affiliated group, forward with their reign of terror, are slaughtering locals who fail to provide tangible proof of their faith.

“…everyone is questioned of religion. If you can’t prove you are a Muslim, you are “taken care” of,” Dima detailed.

Advancing towards their objective of erasing any trace of contradiction with their extremist disposition, the insurgents are holding in captivity local educators.

“I have received a message that my high school principal is taken as hostage. Along with her are many non-Muslims who strive to give education to young minds of Marawi,” Rashid indicated.

Families, in search of refuge, are fleeing for their lives away from the battlegrounds.

“My sisters’ classmates and their families are on their way to our house; they are running away from the threat of fire and bullets,” he said.

Amid the chaos, Dima highlighted how the once tranquil community who strived for a common degree of understanding is crumbling in the face of the militants’ insurgency. And in a last plea for peace urged the assailants to forego their depraved ways.

“I grew up with non-Muslim friends and educators. I am where I am right now because of them. All the people who grew up from where I did are successful because of the community we were raised in.”

“Instead of our homes, our schools, our hospital, and our jails, burn your ignorant and false extremist beliefs.”

Still hopeful, Dima encouraged everyone to stand their ground in the face of the Maute group’s menace, calling for every citizen in the country to reach out and lend a time of prayer for those who are still in peril.

“I stand with Marawi City and all of the people therein. Please stay strong. Lend a prayer if you can.

Open your homes to those in need if you can.”

“Religious leaders, Ulamas, and people of high regard and influence, step in and negotiate!”

“In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful, and the Most Beneficent, light a candle and pray.”

With the influx of unvalidated information on the web, the Armed forces of the Philippines (AFP) pressed the public to ‘refrain’ from posting unconfirmed ‘facts” on social media that will further aggravate the situation in Marawi.

“We fervently urge our people to refrain from posting in social media information that would tend exacerbate the situation. Especially photos and videos on the movements of our troops and on terrorist propaganda circulating through social media,” said Public Affairs Office Chief Marine Colonel Edgard A. Arevalo in a statement.

“We will continue to provide updates as often as possible with due regard to the security of our operating forces and the conduct of the operations itself,” he added.

President Rodrigo Duterte has declared martial law in the region in response to the attacks of the ISIS-backed terrorist wing.

And as of this posting, government troops are still on high alert and no arrests have been made public yet. Authorities ask the public to be more vigilant and be wary of suspicious activities.

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