MANILA - Authorities on Tuesday rejected reports of looting and rape fears in Marawi City, where government forces are battling Islamic State-inspired militants.
“There was no reported rape cases and yet we are still verifying the veracity of the complaint and on the other side. We are welcoming any complaint if ever,” police officer Esnairah Lucman said in a televised briefing from Marawi.
Maranao leaders in the area also denied receiving reports of rape by government forces, she said.
Left-wing groups groups last week claimed Marawi women were forced to seek refuge in evacuation centers for fear of getting raped by soldiers.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Monday dismissed the rape claims as “fake news” and dared those making the allegations to present evidence and file charges.
Marawi Crisis Management Committee spokesperson Zia Alonto Adiong appealed to organizations and individuals who have received reports of rape cases to coordinate with authorities.
Authorities also denied allegations of looting by police and soldiers in the city.
“That is just mere assumption unless there is an evidence that will link the police officer taking the properties and we will investigate,” Lucman said.