Director of Indonesian Citizens Protection of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Lalu Muhammad Iqbal noted in a message received here on Monday that no report has been received of the involvement of those Indonesians in the armed conflict in Marawi City.
"They are members of Jamaah Tabligh (JT) who were performing khuruj, an Islamic dawah for 40 days, in the Philippines. The base of the JT happens to be in Marawi," Iqbal clarified.
The Indonesians entered the Philippines legally, and the purpose of their visit had been reported to the local authority, he stated.
A total of 11 Indonesians citizens, of which 10 are members of JT, have been evacuated from Marawi City, after martial law was declared in the city.
On Tuesday evening (May 23), Filipino President Duterte had declared martial law in Mindanao in response to the clashes in Marawi City that erupted on Tuesday afternoon.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana remarked that the fighting in Marawi City started on Tuesday afternoon, as the police and military were moving to serve a warrant of arrest on Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon.
He said that members of the Maute Group occupied parts of Marawi City in response, as reported by the Philippines Star.
However, the martial law is expected to not pose a threat to the safety of seven Indonesian citizens who were kidnapped at the end of 2016 and early 2017 by the Abu Sayyaf armed group in the Philippines.
"So far, the seven hostages are in good condition. The communication lines remain open, and rescue efforts are ongoing," Iqbal added.(*)