The Maute group confronting the Philippine army in Marawi City is no longer considered a local terrorist organization as it has been reinforced by jihadists of Malaysian, Indonesian and “other nationalities,” the country’s authorities have announced.
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He added that Indonesians and Malaysians are among the Islamist radicals who are fighting the army. Meanwhile, an army spokesman said six foreigners were killed in Mindanao on Thursday, including militants of Malaysian, Indonesian and "other nationalities."
“What’s happening in Mindanao is no longer a rebellion of Filipino citizens” but “has transmogrified into an invasion by foreign terrorists who heeded the clarion call of the ISIS to go to the Philippines if they find difficulty in going to Iraq or Syria,” Calida added, as cited by InterAksyon news.
On Thursday, Philippines’ Western Mindanao Command (WESMINCOM) announced that, since Tuesday, at least 31 fighters of the IS-linked Maute group were killed in
At least 13 government troops and police officers lost their lives since Tuesday.
“Our troops are doing deliberate operations in areas we believe are still occupied or infested with the terrorists’ presence. I specifically ordered our soldiers to locate and destroy these terrorists as soon as possible,” Bautista added.
On Tuesday night, President Rodrigo Duterte placed the entire island of Mindanao under martial law for 60 days after battles between government troops and the Maute in Marawi escalated. On Wednesday, Duterte warned that he will not hesitate to declare martial law throughout the entire country if terrorism spills beyond Mindanao.