Duterte to extremists: No talks even if you kill hostages


"We have received information from the Philippine Army about the death of an Indonesian", the ministry's director for citizen protection and legal counsel Muhamad Iqbal said on Monday, May 29.

The Philippine military is waging an all-out war against the Maute group of terrorists that claim allegiance to ISIS. "When they freed the inmates, he got free", said Ali.

The head of the Malaysian police force's counter-terrorism division, Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay, named four Malaysians who are known to have traveled to Mindanao to join militant groups.

In a statement Thursday on the friendly-fire accident, the military acknowledged the mistake but declared it would "incessantly push. forward to retake the remaining part of Marawi and liberate the people".

They have been pushed back to the city center by Philippines forces over the past week after some 4,000 ground troops were bolstered by helicopters and aircraft deploying rockets and bombs. "They smelled really bad", fellow teacher Regene Apao, 23, told AFP.

Lieutenant-Colonel Jo-Ar Herrera, spokesman for the government forces fighting them in Marawi city, said Hapilon remained in the area. The investigators added that the militants then placed the bodies into a ditch and put a sign next to them that read "Munafik", which means traitor or liar.

"We shouted "Allahu akbar", he told Reuters, adding that thanks to that Muslim rallying cry they were allowed to pass.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana disclosed yesterday that about 200 to 250 Maute and Islamic State (IS) rebels continue to fight government troops in Marawi City.

Mindanao - roiled for decades by Islamic separatists, communist rebels, and warlords - was fertile ground for Islamic State's ideology to take root. Mindanao has a significant Muslim population, though the Philippines is a predominantly Catholic country.

It is hard for governments to prevent militants from getting to Mindanao from countries like Malaysia and Indonesia through waters that have often been lawless and plagued by pirates.

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The unrest has boosted fears that the Islamic State group's violent ideology is gaining a foothold in the country's restive southern islands, where Muslim separatist rebellions have raged for almost half a century.

Security expert Gunaratna said that Ahmad has played a key role in establishing ISIL's platform in the region.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, a controversial figure who has strained relations with the Philippines' traditional ally, America, and is seeking "realignment with China, is himself a native of Mindanao Island, and has served as the Mayor of Davao City, the island's largest city". Can this new martial law help?

The militants have murdered 19 civilians, the military has said, while insisting none has died in any air assaults or the intense street-to-street battles.

The clash in Marawi City began with an army raid to capture Isnilon Hapilon, a leader of Abu Sayyaf, a group notorious for piracy and for kidnapping and beheading Westerners.

The Maute group has been a fierce enemy of a military with superior firepower and greater troop strength. In a video that surfaced last June, a Syria-based leader of the group urged followers in the region to join Hapilon if they could not travel to the Middle East. Hapilon was named IS leader in Southeast Asia a year ago.

One of those rescued told soldiers: "We can not get out, we are afraid of the terrorists who might see and kill us". It also wants to ban betting, karaoke and so-called "relationship dating".

There were an estimated 400 to 500 Jihadist fighters who descended upon Marawi on Tuesday last week, and about 40 of these were foreign nationals, a Philippines intelligence source told ABC-CBN News.

Precision-guided bombs were used earlier in airstrikes in Marawi's urban areas, but the military ran out of the high-tech munitions and used conventional ones in Wednesday's bombing run, he said.