The Philippine government declared the liberation of Marawi on 23 October, following the deaths of pro-Islamic State (IS) leaders.
Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute, leaders of the pro-IS group who led the war in Marawi, were killed in an exchange of gunfire between the militant group and the Philippine military on 16 October, as announced by the Department of National Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.
“We have successfully concluded what has been, so far, the most serious threat of violent extremism and radicalism in the Philippines and in Southeast Asia. The defeat of the Daesh-inspired Maute Group, likewise, underscores our singleness of purpose in the global war against terrorism,” said Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella, in an interview with Business Mirror.
Amidst the celebration, Open Doors fieldworker Gina* asks for prayer, as there are fears that there may be retaliation from sympathetic militant groups.
“Please keep on praying that God will confuse the plans of retaliation of these groups, if there would be any. Pray that fear will be instilled in their hearts in attacking any [other] place in Mindanao, that they may grow weary and tired in doing evil things. Pray that these groups will acknowledge Jesus Christ as the one and only saviour and that they may totally abandon their ideologies of Islamic extremism,” she requests.
Gina is leading Open Doors work to support those who have been affected by the siege, partnering with other Christian groups in the area. Your prayers and support have enabled her team to provide food, clothes and toiletries to those who had to be evacuated from their homes, including believers from Muslim backgrounds.
She says, “Please pray as well that our brethren will be comforted and assured that the Lord gives hope. Pray that the Lord will provide for their needs as many have lost their jobs during the siege. Pray that they may be able to cope up with all the difficulties they are encountering and that they may continue to put their trust and faith in the Lord.
“Also pray for the Muslim ulamas (leaders) who are initiating intra-faith dialogue with extremist Muslims in some areas of Mindanao. May this dialogue be used by God to lessen, if not eradicate, extremist teachings in the region.”
*name changed for security reasons