Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law on the southern island of Mindanao on Tuesday night after a city there was rocked by clashes between government forces and Islamist militants.
Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella announced the declaration in Moscow, where Duterte arrived Tuesday for a five-day state visit. Martial law on the island — which is home to more than 20 million people — began at 10 p.m. and will last for 60 days, Abella said.
This marks the first time Duterte has declared martial law since he was elected in June 2016. He will cut his Russia trip short, postponing scheduled meetings with President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, according to the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
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