Conditions are worsening in the Islamic State-besieged town of Marawi in the Philippines, as Christians are fleeing the town by disguising themselves with the hijab, reported Daily Mail.
A large part of the population fled the town after Islamic State militants rampaged through, killing and kidnapping Christians. This has been the case since May 23, when fighters from the Philippines locality pledged with the Islamic State and went on a terror spree.
Last week, five police officers and Christian civilians fled across the commercial district, surviving through sniper attacks to reach the government-controlled area on the Western bank. “We ran the last part,” First Officer Lumna Lidasan, 44, told Reuters, indicating on a map a stretch of seven city blocks that leads to Banggolo bridge. “We could see the bridge ahead of us. We had to take cover several times when we saw a sniper.”
The residents of Marawi are undergoing extreme situations and are unable to ask for relief or rescue. Zia Alonto Adiong, a Filipino politician is currently managing the relief efforts. He said that they received a text message pleading for help. “One family said they had “started to eat their blankets”,” he told Reuters.
But the gravity of the situation became clear when Dr. Gioia Ancheta, the head of the psychosocial therapy team said, “Some of the stories that stuck were Muslims helping protect Christian workers by letting them borrow a hijab.” Among the stories of trauma, and the recounts and recollections of horrific violence, this particular anecdote stood out.
These survivors have recounted numerous stories, and the fact that Christians had to disguise themselves with the hijab in an attempt to survive is a major cause for concern for the Philippines, but also for all countries where Islamic State is present or influential.
Records show that there are around 300-500 people still trapped in the town of Marawi. The military says 290 people have been killed, including 58 soldiers, 206 militants and 26 civilians. Residents who have fled the shattered city said they had seen least 100 bodies in the rubble and in battle zones, reported Reuters.