Foreign terrorists in Marawi clash into illegal drug trade

Michele Moreno
May 29, 2017

This prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to cut his trip to Russian Federation short and declare martial law throughout the southern region of the country.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has promised to be harsh with militants.

The city of about 200,000 people was under attack by Muslim militants and people were packing into vehicles to flee the violence Thursday as army trucks rolled into the city center. Plumes of black smoke rose in the distance and two air force helicopters could be seen flying over the city centre. He also said the government troops will do all they can to ensure that the remaining Maute fighters are crushed and that the residents of Marawi can safely return to their homes.

"At night we can hear the gunfire".

While they have yet to confirm the identities of those foreign terrorists who have only just entered the country, the general said that those who have resided here may have been "trying to escape the long arm of the law in their respective countries". Duterte, who cut his Russian Federation visit short to return home, said he heard reports they may have beheaded a police chief.

Although much of the city was sealed off, disturbing details were trickling out. Gen Padilla as saying.

More than half of the population of Marawi has cleared out, Adiong said.

Hapilon moved out of the Abu Sayyaf's strongholds in Sulu province previous year to bring bandit and terrorist groups in the southern Philippines under ISIS' banner. He has repeatedly threatened to place the south, the scene of decades-long Muslim separatist uprisings, under martial law. But now they have subscribed to the ideology of IS [the self-styled terrorist group].

Martial law allows Duterte to use the armed forces to carry out arrests, searches and detentions more rapidly.

In 2014, Hapilon appeared in a video beside two masked men pledging allegiance to the Islamic State group, which was then gaining ground in Iraq and Syria.

At least one of those smaller groups, the Maute, was involved in the Marawi siege. "In numerous instances where their camps have been overtaken by our troops, there is evidence of the presence of drug paraphernalia, particularly with this Maute Group, such that our soldiers have been reporting that they've been fighting suicidally, meaning, without any regard for their own safety and like zombies".

Political analyst Ramon Casiple said the Maute is a clan-based group with members in Marawi who came to Hapnilon's assistance, with some directly assisting in the fighting and others fanning out to different parts of the city, setting up checkpoints and burning some buildings and taking hostages from the cathedral. He said they are verifying if the group is holding other hostages.

Ano predicted that the military operation will take about a week as soldiers go house to house to clear the city of militants.

Government troops have been intensifying offensives on the island strongholds of Abu Sayyaf and last month killed about 36 Maute group fighters when aircraft bombed their mountain lair in Lanao del Sur province.

Still, he also offered dialogue to militants who are not on the streets fighting.

Other reports by Insurance News

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