May 23, 2017

Duterte declares martial law

Pavel Golovkin / AP

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has declared martial law on the island of Mindanao following a violent clash between government security forces and the Maute rebel group that, according to the military, left three security personnel dead and 12 wounded.

The government says the Maute group, an militant Islamist faction, has aligned itself with ISIS and is responsible for a bombing in Duterte's hometown of Davao. Duterte cut short a visit to Moscow after the clashes.

Mindanao is home to 22 million people, including multiple Muslim rebel groups that want more independence from Manila.

Why it matters: Duterte has launched a brutal crackdown on crime and drugs since taking office last year, but never before declared martial law. It is unclear what tactics the government will employ in the 60 days in which the measures will be in place.

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