MANILA (AFP) – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte yesterday rejected allegations by a rights group that troops engaged in looting during the battle against Islamic State followers in Marawi. Mr Duterte also assured soldiers he would protect their interests following allegations by Amnesty International that they had committed abuses during the battle. “Those (allegations) of stealing in Marawi, I don’t believe it. I was there. I know,” he said. Mr Duterte said it was understandable if soldiers had used a civilian’s electric fan to combat the heat. “But I don’t believe my soldiers are thieves,” he said. He did not mention Amnesty’s more serious allegations that soldiers had detained and tortured civilians trying to flee during the fighting.