ILIGAN CITY: On May 23, the Maute terrorist group hoisted Islamic State (IS) flags in several areas of Marawi City in Lanao del Sur beginning the siege of this predominantly Maranao enclave that had the Muslim and Christian population fleeing for their lives as military forces engaged the terrorists in a gun battle.

The Marawi siege shocked authorities and local communities for the unexpected show of strength of a group that started with only eight members but whose ranks have swelled to hundreds of jihadist militants viciously fighting the government forces.

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