(photo credit: JPOST STAFF)
Bodies of what appeared to be executed civilians were found in a ravine outside a besieged Philippine city on Sunday as a six-day occupation by Islamist rebels resisting a military onslaught took a more sinister turn.
The eight dead men, most of them shot in the head and some with hands tied behind their backs, were laborers who were stopped by Islamic State-linked militants on the outskirts of Marawi City while trying to flee clashes, according to police.
Nine spent bullet casings were found on a blood-stained patch of road at the top of the ravine. Attached to one of the bodies was a sign that said "Munafik" (traitor).
The discovery confirms days of speculation that Maute rebels had killed civilians during a bloody takeover of Marawi City, that the military believes is aimed at winning the Maute recognition from the Islamic State group in the Middle East as a Southeast Asian affiliate.