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Fillipino soldiers patrol a road in the southern island of Mindanao which is under martial law Fillipino soldiers patrol a road in the southern island of Mindanao which is under martial law  (AFP or licensors)

Australian missionary of Sisters of Sion arrested in Philippines

71-year-old Sister Patricia Fox had been part of an international human rights mission investigating the plight of indigenous people and impoverished farmers

The Philippines on Monday detained an Australian nun for alleged "illegal political activities" after she took part in a human rights fact-finding mission in the south of the country.

Sister Patricia Fox, regional coordinator for the Sisters of Our Lady of Sion, was taken to the immigration bureau in Manila and is expected to be deported from the country.

Work with poor and indigenous

The 71-year-old had been involved with an international human rights mission on the southern island of Mindanao. She has served as a missionary in the Philippines for 27 years, working especially with indigenous people and impoverished farmers.

President Rodrigo Duterte imposed martial law on Mindanao last May, after militants associated with the so-called Islamic State, stormed the city of Marawi. Over a hundred people died in clashes as government forces battled to take back control of the city.

Island under marital law

Mindanao has long been plagued by conflict, as successive governments have launched military crackdowns against Communist insurgencies, as well as Islamist organisations.

The majority of Muslims in the Philippines live on Mindanao and the surrounding islands, but the political instability has made the area a flashpoint for drug smugglers, kidnappers, and extremists groups operating across the region

16 April 2018, 16:06