South East Asia

Mainly Christians slaughtered in Marawi siege

Government troops check a vehicle evacuating residents from their hometown of Marawi. Photo: Reuters

Nearly all the civilians murdered by Islamic militants during the five-month long siege of Marawi were Christians, according to Amnesty International.

The detailed analysis, which includes multiple eyewitness found shocking evidence that Islamists specifically set out to kill Christians for their faith.

“During the conflict, militants regularly targeted civilians and carried out numerous extrajudicial executions. The civilian victims were nearly all Christians, and most – if not all – were targeted because they were not Muslim. Militants often gave civilians a de facto religious test prior to killing them; they were asked to recite the Shahada, which is an expression of Muslim faith, or to respond to Muslim greetings,” stated the report.

John, a Christian builder in his thirties who was working on a house in Marawi, witnessed the murder of his Christian co-worker. On the early afternoon of 23 May, his colleague left the building in which they were working to visit a shop and was confronted by armed men dressed in black. They asked if he was a Muslim or Christian and when he answered Christian they shot him in the head. “We don’t know what happened to the body,” says John.

During the extended siege, militants also took hundreds of civilians hostage, the “vast majority” of whom were Christians. The were complled “to do forced labour, and reportedly served as human shields … hostages were also forced to make improvised bombs, fight and loot, and were used as sex slaves” by the militants.