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  1. #51
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    Mindanao Terrorist Groups Forged Unity Under ISIS

    Terrorist groups in Mindanao have bonded together to form a stronger coalition under the international terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), a security analyst said Thursday.
    GMA News' Maki Pulido on "Balitanghali" reported that security analyst Rommel Banlaoi, chairman of the Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence and Terrorism Research, Inc., said that the new terrorist group is called "Daulah Islamiyah Wilayatul Mashriq" or the "Islamic State East Asia Division."
    Banlaoi said that based on his sources, Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon—who was instrumental in unifying all Mindanao terrorist groups sympathetic to ISIS— would be the chairman of the new ISIS division.

    The new group's vice chairmen would be brothers Abdullah and Omarkhayam Maute, founding leaders of the Maute Group.
    Hapilon was said to be in Marawi City for the merger under ISIS instructions, Banlaoi said.

    Also, he said that the formation of the new group might be the reason why the military was surprised by the big number of terrorists that attacked Marawi City last Tuesday.

    The sheer number of terrorists that engaged security forces in the city did not sit well with the military's earlier claim that the attackers were only a small band of ISIS sympathizers wanting to grab the public's attention.

    Citing a news report from Amaq news agency and intelligence information reaching him, Banlaoi said that ISIS has already recognized the Maute group as one of its fighters.

    Terrorist groups in Mindanao are receiving funds from ISIS, he added.
    On Tuesday, the military launched an operation against Hapilon following a tip that the leader was holed up with Maute group members in an apartment in Marawi.

    The Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police earlier insisted that there was no presence of the ISIS in the country.

    Col. Edgard Arevalo, AFP public affairs office chief, on Thursday retracted his earlier statement, saying that they will follow the pronouncement of President Rodrigo Duterte that ISIS has already reached the country.

    Duterte on Tuesday night placed Mindanao under martial law due to the clashes in Marawi City.

    He cited the arrival of ISIS in the country and the open defiance of lawless armed groups in Marawi City as the "compelling reasons" for his declaration. —Marlly Rome Bondoc/LBG, GMA News
    I am so unlucky that if I fall into a barrel full of D*ick**s, I'd come out sucking my own thumb!

  2. #52
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    Residents flee Marawi fighting - ABC News

    ^I've no update about that American camp yet..... Still trying to get more info.

  3. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by TuskegeeBen View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by beerlaodrinker
    Damn shame what's going on there
    It's a damned thing what's going on globally. You are aware of the fact, that it's all part-n-parcel of the same ole grand scheme of things, are you not?
    im aware that your an asshole that wouldn't know your ass from a hole in the ground Ben.

  4. #54
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    ^^^^They still call the American soldiers VISITING FORCES..... It has something to do with EDCA, signed during the Aquino Administration between the US and PI government which was ruled by the Supreme Court on the later part of 2016 as constitutional and valid.

    In the municipality of Quezon, Palawan which has 14 Barangays, the American forces have projects in 3 Barangays - Bgy. Tabon, Bgy. Maasin and I still am not sure about the 3rd Bgy.

    That's all I know so far.

  5. #55
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    Philippines

    Yesterday, UK Column devoted about 20 minutes of their daily news to the situation in the Philippines.

    Fast forward to 10:07 for the Philippines segment or use the link below:


    Last edited by jerrywade; 31-05-2017 at 09:57 AM.

  6. #56
    Thailand Expat misskit's Avatar
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    Clash fuels fear of IS foothold in Mindanao


    MARAWI CITY – Terrorists who have laid siege to this predominantly Muslim city had been planning a spate of attacks during the holy month of Ramadan to earn recognition as a regional branch of the Islamic State (IS) group, the military said on Tuesday.

    Soldiers have taken control of about 70 percent of Marawi, where gunmen from the Maute group have been fending off the Army for a week, according to Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Eduardo Año.

    “They wanted to show the world that there is an IS branch here which can inflict the kind of violence that has been seen in Syria and Iraq,” Año told The Associated Press (AP).

    The violence followed an unsuccessful Army raid that attempted to capture Abu Sayyaf commander Isnilon Hapilon, who has pledged allegiance to IS.

    Hapilon escaped and gunmen loyal to him besieged this mostly Muslim city of 200,000 people, torching buildings and taking hostages.


    Año said the gunmen were prepared to fight because of their Ramadan attack plot.

    Over the past week, the fighters have shown their muscle, withstanding a sustained assault by the military and increasing fears that the IS violent ideology is gaining a foothold in the Philippines’ restive southern islands, where a Moro separatist rebellion has raged for decades.

    President Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao for 60 days.

    The Army insists the drawn-out fight is not a true sign of the terrorists’ strength, and that the military has held back to spare civilians’ lives.

    “They are weak,” Ano said, referring to the gunmen, speaking at a hospital where injured soldiers were being treated. “It’s just a matter of time for us to clear them from all their hiding places.”

    As of Tuesday morning, Año said the military, working house-by-house, had cleared 70 percent of the city and the remaining gunmen were isolated.

    Still, the terrorists have turned out to be remarkably well-armed and resilient.

    In recent years, small militant groups in the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia have begun unifying under the banner of IS.

    Solicitor General Jose Calida said last week that the violence in Mindanao was “no longer a rebellion of Filipino citizens.”

    Three Malaysians, an Indonesian and possibly Arab extremists have been killed in the Marawi fighting, Año said, citing the latest intelligence on the matter.

    He said Hapilon was still hiding somewhere in the city and that authorities were working to confirm another top militant had been killed.

    Rohan Gunaratna, a terrorism expert at Singapore’s S. Rarajatnam School of International Studies, said the fighting in Marawi, along with smaller battles elsewhere in the southern Philippines, may be precursors to declaring a province, which would be “a huge success for the terrorists.”

    Last week, two suicide bombings in Jakarta, Indonesia, killed three police officers, an attack claimed by IS.

    While Indonesia has been fighting local terrorists since 2002, the rise of IS has breathed new life into those militant networks and raised concern about the risk of Indonesian fighters returning home from the Middle East.

    Experts have warned that as IS is weakened in Syria and Iraq, battered by years of American-led attacks, Mindanao could become a focal point for regional fighters.

    Southeast Asian fighters fleeing the Middle East “could look to Mindanao to provide temporary refuge as they work their way home,” said a report late last year by the Jakarta-based Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict, predicting a high risk of regional violence.

    Marawi is regarded as the heartland of the Islamic faith in Mindanao.

    Año said the extremists had plotted to set Marawi ablaze entirely to project IS influence.

    The extremists wanted to kill Christians in nearby Iligan City on Ramadan, the Muslim holy month of fasting, to mimic the violence seen by the world in Syria and Iraq, Año said.

    The gunmen’s support network in Marawi remains unclear, though the power of one militant group—the Mautes—has grown in recent years.

    Led by members of the city’s Maute clan, the group has become increasingly active in a number of towns across Lanao del Sur province, where Marawi is located, and has been instrumental in the fighting this past week.

    Moro rebels have been waging a separatist rebellion in Mindanao for decades.

    The Moro National Liberation Front, formerly the largest armed group in Mindanao, dropped its secessionist demands in 1996, when it signed a Muslim autonomy deal with the government.

    Amid continuing poverty and other social ills, restiveness among minority Muslims has continued.


    Clash fuels fear of is foothold in Mindanao | Inquirer News

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    Quote Originally Posted by jerrywade View Post
    Yesterday, UK Column devoted about 20 minutes of their daily news to the situation in the Philippines.

    Fast forward to 10:07 for the Philippines segment or use the link below:
    Remember who funded ISIS in the first place. These same powers-that-be are funding ISIS in the PI.

  8. #58
    Thailand Expat misskit's Avatar
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    Duterte orders arrest of communist rebel leaders upon their return to PH


    DAVAO CITY – President Duterte on Wednesday vowed to order the arrest of members of the National Democratic Front peace panels when they return
    Both government and NDF panels are in the Netherlands for the fifth round of formal talks, which was cancelled when former announced that it was not participating as directed by Duterte.

    The President’s decision was reached after the Communist Party of the Philippines ordered the New People’s Army to intensify its operations against government forces after Duterte declared Martial Law in Mindanao.

    Mr. Duterte, guesting during the Philippine Navy’s 119th anniversary in Sasa wharf here Wednesday, said the communists have been given concessions, with several of its jailed ailing leaders released.

    Duterte orders arrest of communist rebel leaders upon their return to PH | Inquirer News

  9. #59
    Thailand Expat misskit's Avatar
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    About 1,000 civilians feared dead in Marawi City

    About 1,000 residents who were unable to flee Marawi City are feared dead as the armed forces continued to pound the Maute militants with air strikes, The Manila Times Online reported on Tuesday quoting civil society groups.

    Meanwhile, Armed Forces of the Philippines warned on Tuesday for the militants to surrender or face definite death as they dug in on the eighth day of fighting.

    The militants are holding at least 15 hostages, including a Catholic priest, and threatened to kill them as shown on a video.

    AFP spokesman Brig. Gen Restituto Padilla Jr. said he could not confirm whether foreign fighters were among the militants as claimed by Solicitor General Jose Calida.

    “We fear there are more than 1,000 civilians dead in their homes unrecovered and it will increase if air strikes continue,” Nasrullah Conding, a Marawi leader who carries the title “Sultan of Bacolod” told the media.

    Conding claimed that only half of Marawi City’s 200,000 population were evacuated.

    Conding joined imams, youth and other civil society groups in calling for the warring parties to end the hostilities.

    The groups said that if the AFP allowed them to get into the city and pull out bodies from the battle field by suspending attacks, they could get assurance from the other side for the same.

    The groups were joined by Samira Gutoc-Tomawis, a member of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, who had resigned from the body tasked with writing the Bangsamoro basic law that will grant wider autonomy to Muslims in Mindanao.

    She said she was joining the call for solidarity in resolving the Marawi crisis.

    About 1,000 civilians feared dead in Marawi City - Thai PBS English News

  10. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by misskit
    “We fear there are more than 1,000 civilians dead in their homes unrecovered and it will increase if air strikes continue,” Nasrullah Conding, a Marawi leader who carries the title “Sultan of Bacolod” told the media. Conding claimed that only half of Marawi City’s 200,000 population were evacuated.
    But for the fickle luck of the birth lottery any one of us could be living the hell folks caught in the middle of this and other elephant stomps. We are truely a despicable species.

  11. #61
    Thailand Expat misskit's Avatar
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    ^ Ain't it the truth. Of all the bad news in the world, this story causes me the most distress. God help them.

  12. #62
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    Philippine army battles to contain Isis attacks from spreading to second city

    Police and security services have imposed a night-time curfew and increased their presence in a second Philippine city following reports that Islamist militants fighting fierce battles in Marawi might pose as civilians to sneak out and open a new front.

    More than 90% of Marawi’s 200,000 population have fled a week of street clashes and aerial strikes. Many have relocated to Iligan City, 38km (24 miles) to the north, where authorities have implemented a 10pm to 4am curfew.

    Posting on the city’s Facebook page, police had said curfews were not a complete lockdown but “containment action” – using both stationary and mobile checkpoints as well as “police visibility to negate the occurrence of same incident at Marawi City”.

    The extended curfew followed comments from Colonel Alex Aduca, chief of the Fourth Mechanised Infantry Battalion, who told local radio that some rebels had been caught trying to get into Iligan.

    “We don’t want what’s happening in Marawi to spill over in Iligan,” he said.

    A spokesperson for the provincial government of Lanao del Sur also said the army had arrested a suspected militant trying to flee Marawi. The man, who was in his 20s, had fingers smelling “of gunpowder”, Zia Alonto Adiong said.

    The spokesperson encouraged residents to help the military by conducting citizen’s arrests of suspected members of the Maute, the Islamic State-linked group that took control of several neighbourhoods of Marawi last Tuesday.

    “If anybody thinks that he or she is physically capable of apprehending a member of the Maute, then do so. Bring that criminal to us and we will do the necessary actions,” he said.

    Security forces have made efforts to contain much of the wider region. Police as well as soldiers, in camouflage and carrying assault rifles, searched trucks and checked ID cards at two checkpoints between Iligan and the provincial international airport.

    More than 60 militants, 20 security forces personnel and 19 civilians have been killed since Maute rebels flooded through Marawi, a lakeside city in the centre of Mindanao, a semi-autonomous province home to several insurgent factions.

    While on-off fighting is common in the island state of 22 million, the overnight rampage by an Isis-linked group and its ability to hold ground for a week in defiance of military attack helicopters and artillery barrages presents a dramatic turn.

    President Rodrigo Duterte has imposed martial law in the area and told troops that he will protect them if they commit abuses during the conflict, including rape, leading to an outcry from rights activists and some lawmakers.

    The clashes started after security forces tried to capture Isnilon Hapilon, an Islamist militant leader who is the subject of a $5m FBI reward and endorsed by Isis, which seeks to to establish a presence outside the Middle East. He is believed to be a senior leader in a coalition of Islamist insurgent groups, including the Maute.

    ebels struck back surprisingly swiftly, quickly taking up sniper positions that have since bogged down the military’s efforts to completely retake the city.

    Major General Rolando Bautista, the commander who ordered the raid, said insurgents had been planning for several weeks to seize Marawi, and the raid “triggered” their attack early.

    “We did not expect the outcome, the reactions,” Bautista told local news outlet Rappler, suggesting the militants had been well-prepared.

    The Maute group remained in nine of the city’s 96 subdistricts, according to the military. Thousands of civilians remain stranded in the crossfire and bombardment, with little food or water and no electricity.

    The bodies of eight people, said by the army to be civilians executed by the Maute were found in a ravine on Sunday. Most had been shot in the head and some had their hands tied.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...to-second-city

  13. #63
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    Philippine Troops Fight to Retake City












  14. #64
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    The PI soldiers have a hard time looking for the terrorists because they easily mingle with the displaced civilians/ population. Its tricky to spot them when they are not wielding their guns.

  15. #65
    Thailand Expat misskit's Avatar
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    The Accidental Killing of Philippine Troops

    An airstrike targeting ISIS-linked militants mistakingly killed 11 government troops.

    A Philippines government airstrike targeting Islamist militants who have overrun a city in the country’s south accidentally killed at least 10 of the government’s own troops, authorities confirmed Thursday.

    “There were two planes flying and the first plane dropped their ordnance accurately, but the second missed and hit our troops,” Delfin Lorenzana, the country’s defense secretary, said during a press briefing in Manila.

    He added: “Sometimes in the fog of war a lot of things could happen. Accidents happen, like this.”

    The deaths bring the total number of troop fatalities to at least 39 since the government began its efforts to regain control of Marawi City, a Muslim-majority town on the southern island of Mindanao that was overrun by members of the Maute Islamist militant group last week. More than 100 civilians have been killed in the clashes and several thousand others displaced. The Philippines’s government says it believes the militants are harboring Isnilon Hapilon, the leader of the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group who is also considered the Islamic State’s designated leader in Southeast Asia.

    Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law on the island last week to address the crisis, and suggested he might apply it to the whole country or extend its length if necessary. A spokesman for Duterte reaffirmed Thursday that the president would abide by the country’s constitution, which only allows martial law to be implemented for 60 days “to stop an invasion or rebellion.”

    Lorenzana said the military would begin to rely less on airstrikes and more on ground forces in its effort to dislodge the militants, who he said have been confined to its last major stronghold in the city.

    “I give those decision to the ground commander to determine if they still need airstrikes there, especially now that there are more troops operating on the ground and the chances of hitting our own troops is very big like what happened yesterday,” he said.

    https://www.theatlantic.com/news/arc...troops/528852/

  16. #66
    Thailand Expat misskit's Avatar
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    Philippines violence: Marawi civilians trapped as fire breaks truce



    Hundreds of civilians remain trapped in the besieged Philippine city of Marawi after gunfire disrupted a four-hour truce to evacuate them.

    Officials had hoped that around 1,000 residents would leave the city but only some 130 were freed, reports said.

    The ceasefire between the army and militants allied to so-called Islamic State (IS) had been reached through intermediaries.

    The fighting has left more 170 dead, including at least 20 civilians.

    The ceasefire was expected to last until 12:00 local time (04:00 GMT). But one hour into it, gunfire broke out, apparently preventing residents from leaving the city, Reuters news agency reported.

    It was not clear who was firing. A government representative said negotiations were continuing for another temporary ceasefire on Monday.

    Most of the civilians have already fled Marawi but up to 2,000 are believed to be in the city.

    The truce had been mediated by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebel group, a separatist movement based on Mindanao island, where Marawi is located.

    They have signed accords with the government aimed at forging a final peace.

    The violence in Marawi began last month when the army failed in its attempt to capture Isnilon Hapilon, believed to be the main IS leader in the Philippines and linked to the local Maute group, who have declared allegiance to IS.

    In response the Maute group attacked parts of the city with a population of 200,000, taking hostages. President Rodrigo Duterte then declared martial law on Mindanao.

    The Philippine military, using armed forces and helicopter airstrikes, have retaken many areas, but others remain in rebel hands.

    The Philippines, which is majority Catholic, has faced Muslim separatist movements for decades in Mindanao with its significant Muslim population.

    Marawi is known as "Islamic City" in the Philippines for its Muslim-majority population.

    Philippines violence: Marawi civilians trapped as fire breaks truce - BBC News

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    Philippine marine troops seized Monday arms and ammunition from the Islamic state group in Marawi, as fighting between government forces and Islamist militants continue.


  18. #68
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    If you missed the battle, here is a video of what happened in Marawi City last week.
    Be warned might upset nervous people.


  19. #69
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    PH has 1,200 IS operatives, Indonesian minister claims

    SINGAPORE: There are about 1,200 Islamic State (IS) group operatives in the Philippines, including foreigners of whom 40 are from Indonesia, the Indonesian defense minister told an international security forum Sunday.

    Speaking in Singapore amid a bloody standoff between Philippine troops and militants fighting under the IS flag in Marawi City, Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu called the militants “killing machines” and urged full-scale regional cooperation against them.

    “I was advised last night, 1,200 ISIS in the Philippines, around 40 from Indonesia,” Ryacudu told the Shangri-La Dialogue, using another name for the IS group.

    The threat of heightened terrorism, including the impending return of hundreds of Southeast Asian fighters who fought with IS in Syria and Iraq, has been a hot-button issue at the three-day Singapore summit also attended by US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.

    Hundreds of Islamist gunmen rampaged through Marawi, a largely Muslim city of 200,000 in the south of the mainly Catholic Philippines, on May 23 after government forces attempted to arrest their leader, Isnilon Hapilon.

    Up to 50 gunmen are still controlling the city center nearly two weeks after the start of fighting that has killed 177 people including 120 militants.

    “How can we tackle these foreign fighters? We have to be comprehensive,” said Ryacudu, a retired general.

    “We have to find… complete ways but we must exercise caution, they are killing machines. Their aim is to kill other people so that’s why it’s our responsibility that we have common understanding, consensus and common proceedings on how to fight these foreign fighters.”

    Philippine Defense Undersecretary Ricardo David, speaking at the same forum, said the 1,200 figure for total IS fighters in the Philippines mentioned by Indonesia was new to him.

    “I really don’t know, my figure is about 250-400, a lot less,” he told reporters.

    But David said there were 40 foreign IS fighters among those who seized parts of Marawi, eight of whom have been killed by government forces.

    Earlier, Philippine officials said the slain foreign fighters were from Malaysia, Indonesia, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Chechnya.

    “Our intelligence estimates that there are about 40 foreigners that fought in the Marawi incident,” David said.

    The Philippine official added that the foreign fighters used “back channels” in the Sulu and Celebes Seas near the borders of the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia to enter the southern island of Mindanao and link up with local terror groups.

    “That’s why they were able to muster the operations in the area of Marawi,” David said.

    On Saturday, Malaysia’s Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia would launch joint patrols in waters off the Mindanao region this month to counter threats from IS militants.

    PH has 1,200 IS operatives, Indonesian minister claims - The Manila Times Online

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    Duterte offers P20M combined bounties for Hapilon, Mautes

    MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte offered a P10 million bounty for Isnilon Hapilon, as well as P5 million each for the Maute brothers, Abdullah and Omar, announced Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff General Eduardo Año on Monday, June 5.
    "The President is offering P10 million reward money for the neutralization of Isnilon Hapilon who is believed to be leading the terrorist Maute-ISIS group in attacking Marawi City," said the press release issued by Año.
    This will be in addition to the $5 million bounty offered by the United States government for Hapilon, and will likely be added to a standing P7.4 million bounty for Hapilon from the Philippine government.
    Hapilon, a senior leader of the Abu Sayyaf Group, has an outstanding warrant for his arrest for kidnapping with ransom and serious illegal detention. (READ: What ISIS follower Isnilon Hapilon's transcripts reveal about his childhood)
    Año welcomed Duterte's pronouncement, adding that the AFP hopes the bounties "will bear significant accomplishments leading to the eventual arrest and neutralization of Isnilon Hapilon and the Maute brothers."
    AFP public affairs chief Colonel Edgard Arevalo added: "This reflects the resolve of the administration to get the terrorists dead or alive to finally end the conflict in Marawi City. We are positive that through our President's latest pronouncement, we will see the same support and assistance that our people and the local government have given us in our previous accomplishments in the Bohol incident.



    Duterte offers P20M combined bounties for Hapilon, Mautes

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    AP Exclusive: Video shows militants in Philippine siege plot
    By JIM GOMEZ and TODD PITMAN
    Today

    MANILA, Philippines (AP) — It was an audacious plot sketched out in chilling detail with blue pens on the back of a paper calendar: Islamic militants in the Philippines, including one of the world’s most-wanted militant leaders, would take over a key southern city in their boldest attack to date.

    With unsettling calm, they spoke of taking hostages from a school, sealing off roads and capturing a highway “so the people will get scared.”

    Video footage and a separate screen-grab image of that secret meeting, obtained exclusively by The Associated Press, offer a rare glimpse into the clandestine operations of insurgents who followed through two weeks ago with an unprecedented assault on the lakeside city of Marawi, parts of which they still occupy today.

    The images also provide the first visual proof that a nascent alliance of local Muslim fighters are not only aligned with the Islamic State group, but coordinating and executing complex attacks together. Among those at the table was the purported leader of the Islamic State’s Southeast Asia branch, Isnilon Hapilon, who is on Washington’s list of most-wanted terrorists and has a $5 million bounty on his head.

    The footage is believed to be the first of Hapilon since he and several other Filipino militants pledged allegiance to IS in 2014. The military had said he was wounded in a January airstrike; in the video, however, there are no indications that he is injured. Hapilon appears sitting with other militants at a table, wearing a yellow and black headscarf with a pistol beside his folded arms.

    This image taken from undated video shows a hand drawn map on a table at a meeting attended by the purported leader of the Islamic State group Southeast Asia branch, Isnilon Hapilon, at an undisclosed location. (Photo via AP)

    Military chief of staff Gen. Eduardo Ano confirmed the identities of those present, including Hapilon, who resembles other images said to be of him, such as those on FBI wanted posters. The militants have no spokesman and do not generally issue statements.

    The images show that the insurgent alliance “has this intention of not only rebellion, but actually dismembering a portion of the Philippine territory by occupying the whole of Marawi city and establishing their own Islamic state or government,” said Ano.

    The military has an interest in allowing the AP to make the footage public. On Monday, six lawmakers petitioned the Supreme Court to nullify President Rodrigo Duterte’s imposition of martial law in the south — homeland of minority Muslims in the largely Roman Catholic country — casting doubt on the gravity of the crisis there. Ano said the reality that “a full-blown rebellion” is underway should convince skeptics that this is not just “a small problem.”

    Government troops discovered the video on a cellphone they seized during a May 23 raid on a Marawi safe house where Hapilon and other militants were believed to be hiding. They said the video had been filmed a day or two earlier. It was not possible to independently verify that claim. But a separate screen grab of the same meeting, obtained by the AP from an anti-terrorism agent, showed a calendar the militants were writing on that was dated 2017.

    This image taken from undated video shown to The Associated Press by the Philippine military shows the purported leader of the Islamic State group Southeast Asia branch, Isnilon Hapilon, center, at a meeting of militants at an undisclosed location. (Philippines Military via AP)

    An army official allowed the AP to record the video as it played on a laptop computer.

    Ano said the insurgents had been planning to attack Marawi on May 26, the start of Ramadan in the south. But the raid cut their preparations short and triggered instant clashes. Had the assault not been pre-empted, the militants likely would have seized more territory and inflicted far more damage.

    As it stands, the fighting has been unprecedented; while militants have launched major attacks before, never before has any group occupied territory in the heartland of the Philippines’ Islamic faith for this long. Two weeks after the conflict began, at least 178 people have been killed and the army is still battling to regain control with airstrikes and artillery.

    The militants, who are believed to be holding a Catholic priest and many other hostages, have torched buildings and destroyed at least one church. Ano said they occupy 10 percent of the city and have positioned snipers in tall buildings. Much of the city center has been devastated.

    The crisis in Marawi, combined with fears that the Islamic State group is breathing new life into Muslim insurgencies in Southeast Asia, has put the Philippines and the region on edge.

    On Friday, when a masked gunman began shooting and burning gambling tables in a Manila casino, terrified patrons immediately assumed an Islamic State siege was underway. The radical group claimed responsibility for the attack, in which dozens of people died of smoke inhalation, but there has been no evidence to back that claim. Police insist the motive was robbery, and the gunman’s family says he was a disgruntled gambling addict.

    Still, the episode highlighted what House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez described as the “unsettling inadequacy” of public security in the capital. The attack, he said, should “serve as a wake-up call” to do something about it.

    A security conference this past weekend in Singapore attended by defense ministers and experts from 39 nations produced a flurry of alarmed statements. Among the topics: a fear that places like Marawi could become a new base for the Islamic State group as it loses territory in the Middle East.

    “If the situation in Marawi in the southern Philippines is allowed to escalate or entrench, it would pose decades of problems,” said Singapore Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen. “All of us recognize that if not addressed adequately, it can prove a pulling ground for would-be jihadists.”

    The southern Philippines already is.

    Of the 120 militants killed in Marawi so far, at least eight are known to be foreign fighters, including a Chechen, a Yemeni and several Malaysians and Indonesians, according to Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.

    Hapilon’s pledge of allegiance, meanwhile, may have already paid off. His faction has received a “couple of million dollars” from the Islamic State, Lorenzana said.

    In the video clip obtained by the AP, which runs for just over two minutes, a long-haired man identified by the military as Abdullah Maute addresses other militant leaders gathered around a white plastic table.

    This image taken from undated video shown to The Associated Press by the Philippine military shows the purported leader of the Islamic State group Southeast Asia branch, Isnilon Hapilon, center, at a meeting of militants at an undisclosed location.

    Pointing to a crude sketch of Marawi’s main streets and speaking in Tagalog and Marawi’s Maranao dialect, he declares, “We’ll take this first and then here.”

    “Or,” he says, “we can go here first. We seal this off so you’ll have a passageway. But we need to capture a highway so the people will get scared.” Another militant can be seen videotaping the clandestine meeting.

    Maute is the leader of a militant group called the Islamic State Ranao — one of about 10 small armed Muslim groups that have also pledged allegiance to the Islamic State and have forged a loose alliance that now flies IS-style black flags.

    Although virtually unheard of a few years ago, the military says they contributed over 260 of the fighters who attacked mosque-studded Marawi. Along with Hapilon’s group, they were blamed for a night market bombing in September that killed 15 people in the southern city of Davao, Duterte’s hometown.

    Also appearing in the video clip are two of Maute’s brothers — Omarkhayam and Maddi — and another militant known as Abu Humam. Humam is a member of Khilafah Islamiyah Mindanao, a small group linked to a 2013 bombing that killed eight people in a bar in Cagayan de Oro, not far from Marawi.

    The new armed groups are the latest offshoots of a decades-long Muslim separatist conflict fueled by wrenching poverty, weak law enforcement and a surfeit of weapons in the southern Philippines. The two biggest Muslim rebel groups, which have engaged in peace talks with the government, have not backed the militants who attacked Marawi and offered to help bring the siege to an end.

    Hapilon’s militant alliance aims to establish a “wilayat,” or a provincial territory, that will form part of a caliphate in Southeast Asia, according to experts. Duterte says government forces will never allow them to do that or break away from the Philippines.

    ___

    Associated Press writer Annabelle Liang in Singapore contributed to this report

    https://apnews.com/8f6649e404964ab4a2d280537c86c83f

  22. #72
    Thailand Expat misskit's Avatar
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    Philippines conflict: Starving residents tell of terror in Marawi


    For the past two weeks the Philippines army has been fighting Islamist militants in the southern city of Marawi. So far, the conflict has killed at least 170 people, including 20 civilians, and more than 180,000 residents have fled. The BBC's South East Asia correspondent Jonathan Head reports from Marawi.

    For more than a week the military spokesmen have been offering the same, upbeat outlook in the embattled city of Marawi. The Philippines armed forces controls nearly all of the city, they have been saying; the black-clad militants, who so surprised them by seizing Marawi in the name of so-called Islamic State on 23 May, have taken heavy casualties, and are encircled.

    The military will, of course, eventually retake the city. Even fighters happy to die for Islam cannot withstand constant bombardment indefinitely.

    But nearly all of the city is still off-limits to non-military personnel.

    VIDEO Philippines conflict: Starving residents tell of terror in Marawi - BBC News

  23. #73
    Days Work Done! Norton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by misskit
    For more than a week the military spokesmen have been offering the same, upbeat outlook in the embattled city of Marawi
    2 weeks and still a mess. When started Durate said 3 days to retake the city. Total under estimation of the militants capability and resolve. The situation in Mindanao is the result of years of government neglect and looking the other way as rampant crime and islamic bandit groups operated with near impunity. No surprise someone came along with IS financing and coordinated these disparate gangs into a single fighting force. The army will eventually retake Marawi but at great cost to civilian lives and property destruction. Retaking Marawi is only a start. Militant forces will regroup, recruit and rearm and simply occupy anioher city.

    Thailand should take note because conditions are ripe for the same thing happening in the south of Thailand.
    Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.

  24. #74
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    Authorities Recover P79 Million in Cash and Checks in Marawi Home - By Gerg Cahiles and Cecille Lardizabal, CNN Philippines

    Marawi City (CNN Philippines, June 6) — Government forces recovered almost ₱80 million in cash and checks after flushing out Maute fighters in a house in Marawi City on Monday.

    In a media briefing on Tuesday, Task Force Marawi spokesperson Jo-Ar Herrera and Marine officers said P52.2 million in cash and P27 million-worth of stale checks were found inside a vault during a house-to-house clearing operation near Mapandi bridge.

    Philippine monetary authorities have yet to verify if the cash and checks discovered by the Marines are fictitious. Some of the checks discovered were those of Philippine National Bank, PS Bank, and Veterans Bank.

    Incoming Bangko Sentral Governor Nestor Espenilla said they have yet to receive communication from investigators, and added that it is too early to come up with a conclusion.

    Veterans Bank head of Corporate Communications Mike Villa-Real said under the anti-money laundering rules, all transactions amounting to P500,000 and above are automatically reported to the Anti-Money Laundering Council.

    Earlier, President Rodrigo Duterte said the Maute terrorists are being funded by foreign terror groups and illegal drug money.

    Herrera said an M-16 rifle and several firearms were also recovered after government forces took over what they called a "machine gun nest."
    Herrera said they requested for an investigation on the cash and checks, and as to who owns the house, which he described as "well-built."

    Marine Major Rowan Rimas said it is possible the house is owned by a Maute member.
    "It was under the control of the Maute group because prior to the assault of the troops, there is a gun mount in that area. And our troops were being fired upon," he said.

    He said the recovered cash and checks, including some indicating "pay to cash," show the Maute group is on the run.

  25. #75
    Thailand Expat misskit's Avatar
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    Philippines Asks Social Media to Remove Militant Video

    MANILA —
    Philippine military officials said Wednesday that they've asked social media companies including Facebook to remove a video of militants smashing icons in a Catholic church in a besieged southern city, saying it may be an attempt to fan hatred and turn the conflict into a religious war.

    Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla, the military spokesman, also urged netizens not to share the video, which shows militants ripping a picture of Pope Francis, toppling a crucifix, and stomping on and torching religious statues.

    Militants aligned with the Islamic State group continue to control pockets of territory in Marawi, where they laid siege more than two weeks ago. They are believed to be still holding a Catholic priest and many other hostages.

    "We requested that this be pulled out because it may fan hatred," Padilla told reporters. "It is intended by these militants to ... sow hatred among Christians and Muslims."

    He urged social media users not to spread the video and not to "buy into the plan of these groups to inflame the feelings" of followers of various religions in the predominantly Catholic country.

    "This is not a religious war, this is a terror attack on the city of Marawi, and we must be clear about it," Padilla said.

    He said those killed since the fighting broke out on May 23 include 20 civilians, 134 militants and 39 government troops. More than 1,500 civilians have been rescued.

    The militants' "world is continuously growing smaller and smaller every day," Padilla said.

    Police and military operatives arrested several suspected militants Tuesday outside of Marawi.

    Those arrested include Cayamora Maute, the father of three brothers who are among leaders of the Marawi siege and who himself is wanted by authorities. He, his second wife, a daughter, a son-in-law and a driver were apprehended at a checkpoint in southern Davao City, officials said.

    Security forces also arrested suspected militant Kamarudin Butocan Raquiab in a raid on his safe house in southern Maguindanao province's Odin Sinsuat town, where an IS flag, assorted firearms and four improvised bombs were found.

    https://www.voanews.com/a/philippine...o/3890263.html

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