Marawi, Philippines, May 24, 2017 / 10:48 am
Islamic State-allied militants in the Philippines have taken a Catholic priest and a group of church-goers hostage, threatening to kill them if the nation's military does not cease its current offensive against them.
The hostages were taken during a militant siege in the southern Philippines city of Marawi on Tuesday and Wednesday. Militants also burned the Catholic cathedral of Marawi.
Archbishop Socrates Villegas, president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines, denounced the hostage-taking. He said the priest and the hostages had no involvement in the conflict between the military and the militants.
"He was not a combatant. He was not bearing arms. He was a threat to none," the archbishop said. "His capture and that of his companions violates every norm of civilized conflict."