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Politics

Duterte's peace hopes challenged in Mindanao

Declaration of martial law by Philippine president raises broader concerns

| Philippines

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law on the southern island of Mindanao on May 22. This came after a group of heavily armed men bearing the black flags of Islamic State stormed the mainly Muslim city of Marawi in the north of the island. They burned down a college, a hospital and prison, while taking hostages.

The army's slow progress in flushing out the militants and the alacrity with which Duterte seemed ready to suspend civil rights is a worrying sign of renewed instability in a part of the country that has been plagued by decades of war.

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