Philippines | Marawi – One Year After ISIS

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Image: A street in Marawi, one year after being liberated from ISIS. Source: Simon Conway/The HALO Trust
By Jacob Ennever | 7 November 2018

Just over a year ago, the city of Marawi in the southern Philippines was liberated from an Islamic extremist group linked to the Islamic State. Many are still affected, with thousands of Christians currently displaced.

On 23 May 2017, militants belonging to a group linked to the Islamic State had taken over Marawi. During the five months of fighting between the militants and government forces, 40% of the city was destroyed and 98% of the population displaced.

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Image: War-torn buildings in Marawi. Source: Simon Conway/The HALO Trust

Homes were ransacked and buildings set on fire, including a cathedral and a Christian college.

Christians were targeted during the siege. A Catholic priest was among over a dozen being held hostage together.

To this day, many Marawi residents have not yet returned home. Much of the city is still in ruins. Scars of war run through the city. Gates and walls are punctured by bullet holes and are marked by crude army graffiti: “X” stands for “ISIS was present”. “XX” means the “presence of weapons or bombs”.

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Image: Islamic Extremists graffiti in Marawi. Source: Simon Conway/The HALO Trust

A local church leader said that the church in Marawi is helping both Christian and Muslim communities with shelter and food.

“Even if the extremists try to ‘clean’ Marawi of Christians, Marawi will always have a Christian population,” he said.

The government is aiming to complete the rehabilitation of the city by the fourth quarter of 2021. The first stage will include clearing of debris, which is just starting now.

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Image: Remains of a Mosque in Marawi. Source: Simon Conway/The HALO Trust

Please Pray:

  • Pray for displaced residents of Marawi that do not know Jesus, pray many come to know Him.
  • Pray with the Church in Marawi, that they continue to be the light in their community. 
  • Pray for the victims of the war, for both physical and emotional healing.


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