Most of Marawi’s 200,000 people have left the city but up to 2,000 people remain stranded (Photo: Ted Aljibe/AFP)

Hanoi (VNA) – Up to 2,000 Philippine people are still stuck inside Marawi city of Mindanao, southern the Philippines, as fierce fighting between the Philippine security forces and Islamic militants continues.

President Rodrigo Duterte imposed martial law in Mindanao shortly after the fighting erupted. However, fighting on the streets and a military bombing campaign have failed to end the crisis in Marawi. Local authorities expressed alarm about the fate of the trapped people.

Zia Alonto Adiong, spokesman for the Mindanao crisis management committee, said that the people who unable to leave areas held by militants are seeking help and they are anxious for running into checkpoints put up by gunmen.

Philippine authorities said gunmen had already murdered at least 19 civilians, including women and children. Besides, 17 members of security forces and 61 militants were killed in clashes.

Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella on May 29 said that Philippine security forces gained authority in most of Marawi’s areas, only some small parts were under militants’ control.

The violence in the city erupted on May 23 as security forces raided on the suspected house of Isnilon Hapilon, a commander of the Abu Sayyaf group and leader of a branch of self-claimed Islamic State (IS) in the Philippines. The US regards Hapilon as one of the world's most dangerous terrorists and has offered a bounty of five million USD for his capture.

President Duterte and Philippine military officials said that most of gunmen in Marawi belong to the Maute armed group which has about 260 members and pledged allegiance with IS.-VNA