A Muslim man in the Philippines has been hailed a hero after he provided safety for 64 Christians who were being hunted by Islamist militants on the besieged island of Mindanao.
The Isis-affiliated gunmen stormed the island last week and have been locked in fierce fighting with the Filipino army in the city of Marawi.
The fighting has led 90 per cent of the island’s population to flee – those left behind face death and persecution at the hands of the militants.
Miraculously, some 64 Christians left on the island have been provided with sanctuary after a former Muslim politician opened his doors to provide sanctuary from the fighting.
Norodin Alonto Lucman provided sanctuary to dozens of people – and says the militants would only get to those being protected ‘over my dead body’.
Mr Lucman explains that Christians ‘couldn’t leave the city, so I had to take responsibility in protecting them.’
‘The following days, other Christian workers took refuge in my house. There were about 64 of them in my hands and I was very determined that nothing happens to them’, he explained.
Incredibly, he also risked his life by marching the Christians to safety outside the city, waving a white flag as he walked through war-town Marawi.
At one point, he was stopped by fighters who asked if they were Christians – but he was allowed to continue after responding with the Muslim rallying cry of ‘Allahu Akbar.’
At present, government estimates claim that the fighting has taken the lives of 120 militants, 38 government forces and 20 civilians.