Islamist militants have threatened to kill the hostages if the government forces unleashed against them are not recalled.
Manila: Islamist militants battling security forces in a southern Philippine city have taken hostages, including a local priest, the Catholic Church said on Wednesday after President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law to combat the gunmen.
"Father Chito Suganob and others were in the Cathedral of Our Lady Help of Christians when members of the Maute fighting group forced their way into the Cathedral, taking with them Fr. Chito and others as hostages," Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines president archbishop Socrates Villegas said in a statement.
"They have threatened to kill the hostages if the government forces unleashed against them are not recalled."