As the fighting in the Philippine city of Marawi continues, the Islamist rebels have been accused of decapitating civilians. The military has reported that they’ve recovered five civilians who were murdered by rebels and reports that more atrocities are bound to occur as the military wrests control back from the insurgents.

Philippines military members discovered the five decapitated victims among the 17 bodies that have been recovered in Marawi so far. The battle for the city has been ongoing for five weeks as insurgents loyal to the Islamic State are now beginning to try to escape the city as the military noose tightens.

The claim has not been verified by third-party personnel yet but that has been the modus operandi for the IS insurgents.

Seventy-one security force personnel and 299 militants have been killed and 246,000 people displaced in the conflict, which erupted after a failed attempt on 23 May to arrest a Filipino militant commander backed by Isis’s leadership.

President Rodrigo Duterte promised to destroy the militants in Marawi and said the Philippines was now dealing with “a very dangerous situation” due to young Muslims inspired by the “mass insanity” of Isis.

“All they do is just to kill and destroy, and killing in a most brutal way,” he said at an event where he received hundreds of sniper and assault rifles donated by China to help the military campaign in Marawi.

“They enjoy decapitating people in front of cameras. They have to be dealt with, with the same ferocity but not the brutality,” he said.

The information about the beheadings came via a text message to reporters from Lt Cnl Emmanuel Garcia of the Western Mindanao Command.