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's been nearly four months since Islamic state loyalist slayed siege to Marawi City in the Southern Philippines. Ransacking, churches and homes, shooting civilians, and taking people hostage. But after just six days of fighting for the Muslim rebels, 17- year-old Jalil knew it was time to escape.
He's been talking to Reuters about his experience.>> The rebel chief was holding a man's head. He was shouting Allahu Akbar and fellow fighters chanted with him. At that point, I realized I had to get away, I wanted no part in this.>> He's one of hundreds of young Muslims to have been reeled into the ranks of local militants.
And as Reuters' Martin Petty reports from just outside Marawi, insurgents see young recruits as an easy target.>> This is one of the poorest regions of the country, the militant groups are preying on the poorest, the youngest kids, orphans, children who don't go to school. And bringing them on board with their movement with promises of money, of a beautiful bride and a passage straight to heaven if they're martyred and die in combat.
>> Reuters has learned that it costs just two US dollars a day to lure young new recruits to training camps. Where they learn how to use guns, launch stealth attacks on security forces, and evade checkpoints.>> Marawi.>> Slick propaganda videos are also used to celebrate the militants and sway public opinion, often featuring what appear to be very young members.
The rebel tactics are clearly having an effect. The military says it's found that some displaced children idolize the militants. Now, it's sending in female soldiers to counsel them in evacuation camps.>>
> In those areas where there were cases of militant recruitment, we show the children films and allow our soldiers to tell them what really happened.
And why it was not the fault of our people in uniforms.>> As well as helping kids to cope with psychological trauma, the army is also looking for any signs of radicalization. This 11-year-old boy tells Reuters, he just wants everyone to be kind to each other so that the war in his city can finally end.