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Christians given hijabs by Muslims to escape IS in Philippines

by Eno Adeogun

Thousands of people have already fled the mainly Muslim city of Marawi on the southern island of Mindanao but around 1,500 people remain trapped in the city that has become a stronghold for the Maute group, which has pledged allegiance to IS.

Dr Gioia Ancheta, head of the psychosocial therapy team that attended to some of the people that were able to escape told the Independent: "Some of the stories that stuck were Muslims helping protect Christian workers by letting them borrow a hijab."

PA wire

Close to 100 people have escaped on foot, while others in desperation have swum across the river.

Last month a priest and a number of churchgoers were kidnapped by Islamist militants in the same city in the Lanao del Sur province.

A Philippines military spokesman said US troops are located close to Marawi City but are not actively fighting Isis insurgents.

Speaking about the American troop's presence in the city, Brigadier General Restituto Padilla said during a news conference: "They are allowed to carry rifles for self-defence. But they are not allowed to fight, they only provide support."

President Rodrigo Duterte has imposed martial law in Mindanao in response to the violence.

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