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The Marawi crisis looms to be the biggest - and most problematic armed incident in the history of the Mindanao conflict.
Marawi City has been under siege since 23 May 2017, with an ongoing battle between the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and a shadowy group of armed militants who have pledged allegiance to ISIS. Reports have indicated that the militants are made up predominantly of the Maute Group and Abu Sayyaf. President Duterte’s response had been to declare Martial Law across the whole of Mindanao. China and the US are jockeying to supply military aid to the AFP, and US Special Forces have been deployed to provide ‘technical assistance’.
Pundits everywhere have speculated about the Marawi Crisis, but many questions remain unanswered. Why is this happening in Marawi City? Who are the main actors involved in the conflict? How do the people of Marawi perceive the crisis; and how has it affected them? With the extension of Martial Law until the end of 2017, what has been achieved by the use of emergency powers? How long will the siege continue? What has been the impact of the crisis on the ongoing peace process? What can be learnt from this incident – for the Philippines and for other countries affected by threats of radicalisation and terrorism?