At least 103 people have died in the Philippines city of Marawi on the southern island of Mindanao in less than a week as fighters affiliated with the so-called Islamic State engaged in violent clashes with government forces.
Martial law has been declared over the entire island as ISIS raised its black flag in the Philippines.
Local resident Chico Usman said the militants had entered the predominantly Muslim city of some 200,000 suddenly, on the afternoon of May 24, wearing masks and carrying assault rifles.
“Everybody was shocked and ran into their houses,” he said, adding they could hear gunfire and fighting until the following morning.
Black ISIS flags emblazoned in white with the words “There is no god but God” were flying from “every corner in the city,” said Usman, who spoke to CNN from near Saguiaran, a town outside Marawi, where thousands of fleeing residents had taken temporary shelter.
Photos showed long queues of cars piled with people and belongings, as tanks and armored troop vehicles headed in the opposite direction.
Clashes between government forces and militants had claimed the lives of 19 civilians, 11 military and four policemen, as of Sunday afternoon, according to a spokesperson for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). The AFP confirmed 61 militants had also been killed.
In a separate incident, eight other people — thought to be fleeing the city — were found dead in a ravine.
Witnesses said the victims were asked to recite Muslim prayers, according to CNN Philippines. Those who failed were taken by the armed men.
The Philippines is a predominantly Catholic country but Mindanao has a significant Muslim population.