Marawi's ruins a reminder of Islamic State's devastating reach
Updated : May 21, 2019 09:57 AM IST
Two years ago, pro-Islamic State militants took over in a bid to carve out their own "Wilayah", or province, forcing nearly 100,000 people to flee in what became the Philippine military's toughest and longest conflict since World War Two. Marawi was once one of the most picturesque cities in the Philippines. About half of it is now charred concrete and skeletons of buildings, the effects of 154 days of air strikes and artillery by the military, and booby traps the rebels laid everywhere to keep them at bay. Hundreds of militants, 165 soldiers and at least 45 civilians were killed in the five-month conflict. President Rodrigo Duterte in October 2017 declared the city liberated, and its rehabilitation officially underway. But there is little sign of progress. Except for stray dogs and soldiers on guard, Marawi's commercial centre has been abandoned. There is no sign of the promised rehabilitation. Thousands of people are in limbo following a conflict that no one saw coming. Most are jobless and dependent on relief goods.