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Philippine mayor thanks China for helping rebuild war-torn southern city

(Xinhua)    09:53, May 24, 2018

The mayor of the Philippine city of Marawi, Majul Usman Gandamra, on Wednesday hailed China for helping rebuild the southern city devastated by five months of fierce fighting between government security forces and local terrorists.

"We are very, very thankful for the continued support of foreign countries, especially China. It's been an overwhelming support from the Chinese government," Gandamra said in an interview with Xinhua.

"As early as during the siege we felt the support of the Chinese government," he added, expressing hope that China will continue its support in bringing Marawi back on its feet.

Marawi is the economic hub of Lanao del Sur province on Mindanao island. It is the seat of educational institutions, including the main campus of the Mindanao State University. Its economy is mainly agriculture and trading.

In May last year, some 1,000 pro-IS extremists belonging to the Abu Sayyaf and Maute groups attacked the city, displacing thousands, mostly poor residents.

More than 1,200 people were killed, including 165 soldiers and policemen in the battle to retake the city. At least 50 people are also reported missing.

Plans are underway to rebuild a large part of the city reduced to rubbles in the wake of air strikes to flush out the militants.

China is now providing post-conflict support for Marawi and other areas affected by the five-month siege.

In October, the Chinese government donated 47 sets of heavy equipment to help rebuild the devastated city.

Also, China has extended humanitarian assistance to help the thousands of evacuees who are still living in tents.

"So, we are very thankful for that. We hope that the Chinese government will continue its support in bringing Marawi back to a better state than it was before," Gandamra added.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Liang Jun, Bianji)

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