Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte placed the southern island of Mindanao under martial law Tuesday, cutting his state visit to Russia short after about 100 radical Islamist fighters linked to the Islamic State attacked a major city, the Gateway Pundit reports.
Making his announcement from Russia, presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said that the order will immediately take effect and will last for 60 days.
“This is possible on the grounds of the existence of rebellion,” Abella added.
The Filipino strongman was scheduled for a four-day official visit to Russia, but he was forced to cut it short and is on his way to return to the Philippines.
Extremist insurgents from the ISIS-backed Maute group are engaging government troops in the city of Marawi, which has a population of 200,000 and is currently on lockdown, according to Philippine authorities.
The terror group consists of former fighters of a Muslim separatist group in the island and some foreign fighters.