Linus Guardian Escandor II is an Independent Photojournalist and Documentary Photographer currently living in Manila, Philippines. He focuses on themes of environment, health, social and human rights issues.

Marawi Siege

IS-linked Maute Group laid siege to Marawi City on May 23, 2017 pledging allegiance to Islamic State. The conflict spread on the entire city even as government forces downplayed the capabilities of the Maute group who wants to establish an Islamic State.  Aided by Abu Sayyaff leader Isnilon Hapilon, the Maute terror group had an unholy alliance with Abu Sayyaf, private armed group and financed with Narco politics money, they take control much of the city's business district.  Isnilon Hapilon is the subject of covert military operations on May 23, as intelligence reports point to his location.

 

What the military operators did not anticipate is a trap laid out by the terror group.  In local parlance, what the military encounter was a "pinatakasi" or a free-for-all. Vital installations such as power stations, water pumps, police stations, city jail, and the Amai Pakpak hospital were siege by the terrorist.

In just a matter of hours, the terrorists took control of vital bridges - the Mapandi, Banggolo and Pumping bridges which links the city's East and West districts.  The Maute Group fortified the entrance to the bridges, planting Improvised explosives device, LPG tanks and barricading it heavy vehicles. These arethe images of the siege, never before experienced in the military- urban combat in a city whose houses are built with fortress like-fortifications, build to withstand Blood Feud which permits the Maranao culture.