A Catholic priest and churchgoers have been taken hostage by Isis-linked militants attempting to seize control of a city in the Philippines, while the local police chief has been beheaded.
President Rodrigo Duterte has declared martial law on the island of Mindanao, where militants have taken over much of the largest city of Marawi, and cut short a state visit to Moscow in order to return to Manila.
While details of events from inside Marawi remained hazy after militants cut off electricity, gunmen are believed to have forced their way into a cathedral and seized the Rev Chito Suganob, alongside more than a dozen members of his congregation and staff, as fighting continued to rage with government troops.
Archbishop Socrates Villegas, president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, said the gunmen have threatened to kill the hostages “if government forces unleashed against them are not recalled”. He asked Filipinos to pray for the captives, and for the government to make their safety a primary concern.
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