According to the Christian persecution monitoring website Morning Star News, eight Christians who were among the 19 killed when the IS-aligned Maute Group stormed the city of Marawi on May 23 were the first Christians killed during the insurgent uprising in the capital of Lanao del Sur Province on the Mindanao island. The city, which was once home to over 200,000 residents, has seen thousands of residents flee in recent weeks.

The same extremist group claims it is responsible for the kidnapping of as many as 240 Catholics, including Father Teresito “Chito” Suganob, the priest who appeared in a recently released video in which he listed off the names of other “prisoners of war” who were captured by the militants.  Morning Star News reports that government investigators told local media that the eight Christians killed in the May 23 assault were laborers who were stopped by dozens of militants while fleeing to the city of Iligan.  READ MORE