From the Philippine News Agency (May 24): Muslim group fears martial law 'to deepen conflict in Marawi City'
The declaration of martial law will only "exacerbate" the firefight between government troops and members of the Maute terror group in Marawi City, said an official of a Muslim organization on Wednesday, even as the military declared the situation there already "under control."
President Rodrigo Duterte, who decided to cut short his official visit to the Russian Federation, made the pronouncement Tuesday evening after clashes erupted following a raid on a house where Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon was believed to be hiding in Marawi City.
Jerome Aba, national chairperson of Suara Bangsamoro, said the declaration of martial law will "only justify urban militarization and intensified military operations in Marawi".
“We fear for the lives of the civilians who might get caught in the crossfire. We fear for the effects of war on the civilian population,” he said.
Aba said that the Duterte administration should learn from what happened during the siege in Zamboanga City in 2013 where displacement, death, hunger and poverty continue to affect the civilians even until today.
The declaration of martial rule, Aba said, "will also lessen the possibility of resolving the issue through diplomatic and non-militaristic means."
“[Suara Bangsamoro] believes that the Moro leaders should pursue conversations with the Maute group and come up with resolutions on how to resolve the ongoing crisis,” he added.
As of Wednesday morning, the military reported that a police officer and two soldiers were killed and 12 others wounded on the government side, while the number of Abu Sayyaf and Maute fighters who were killed has yet to be determined.