Mindanao clashes: Philippine gov’t speaks of “foreign invasion”

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The Philippine government said on May 26 that the clashes in Marawi City on the southern island of Mindanao were an “invasion of foreign terrorists” since at least half of a group of Islamic state-related fighters killed have been found to be from outside the Philippines.

“We received information on the killing of 12 members of this group and half of them are foreign terrorist, Malaysians, Indonesians and one other,” Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesperson Restituto Padilla said at a press briefing in Davao City.

Philippine Attorney General Jose Calida added that the presence of foreign terrorists on Philippine soil fulfills one of the requirements in the Constitution to justify the declaration of martial law which has been declared in Mindanao by President Rodrigo Duterte who also said it could be extended over the entire country if need be.

“What is happening in Mindanao is no longer a rebellion of Filipino citizens, it’s terrorism” Calida said at the same news conference.

“It has transmogrified into an invasion by foreign terrorists who heeded the clarion call of the Islamic State,” he added.

Violence in Mindanao erupted on May 23 after the army raided the hideout of Isnilon Hapilon, a former commander of the Abu Sayyaf militant group who has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State and is now its emir in the Philippines known under his new nom-de-guerre Abu Abdullah al-Filipini, . He is on Washington’s list of most-wanted terrorists with a $5 million reward for information leading to his capture.

Following the raid, around 100 militants entered Marawi, a mostly Muslim city of 200,000 people on Mindanao. swept through it, beheading a police chief, burning buildings, occupying a hospital, the university and city hall, seizing a Catholic priest and his worshippers and raising the black flag of the Islamic state.

Most residents of Marawi have fled the city which reportedly now looks like “a ghost town” after soldiers ordered civilians to leave their homes. Overall, the clashes have claimed 44 lives in four days of fighting, including militants, soldiers, policemen and security guards.

Meanwhile, neighbouring Malaysia and Indonesia stepped up security at border points and in the waters near the Philippines and also made precautions to accommodate possible civilian refugees.

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The Philippine government said on May 26 that the clashes in Marawi City on the southern island of Mindanao were an "invasion of foreign terrorists" since at least half of a group of Islamic state-related fighters killed have been found to be from outside the Philippines. "We received information on the killing of 12 members of this group and half of them are foreign terrorist, Malaysians, Indonesians and one other," Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesperson Restituto Padilla said at a press briefing in Davao City. Philippine Attorney General Jose Calida added that the presence of foreign terrorists on Philippine...

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The Philippine government said on May 26 that the clashes in Marawi City on the southern island of Mindanao were an “invasion of foreign terrorists” since at least half of a group of Islamic state-related fighters killed have been found to be from outside the Philippines.

“We received information on the killing of 12 members of this group and half of them are foreign terrorist, Malaysians, Indonesians and one other,” Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesperson Restituto Padilla said at a press briefing in Davao City.

Philippine Attorney General Jose Calida added that the presence of foreign terrorists on Philippine soil fulfills one of the requirements in the Constitution to justify the declaration of martial law which has been declared in Mindanao by President Rodrigo Duterte who also said it could be extended over the entire country if need be.

“What is happening in Mindanao is no longer a rebellion of Filipino citizens, it’s terrorism” Calida said at the same news conference.

“It has transmogrified into an invasion by foreign terrorists who heeded the clarion call of the Islamic State,” he added.

Violence in Mindanao erupted on May 23 after the army raided the hideout of Isnilon Hapilon, a former commander of the Abu Sayyaf militant group who has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State and is now its emir in the Philippines known under his new nom-de-guerre Abu Abdullah al-Filipini, . He is on Washington’s list of most-wanted terrorists with a $5 million reward for information leading to his capture.

Following the raid, around 100 militants entered Marawi, a mostly Muslim city of 200,000 people on Mindanao. swept through it, beheading a police chief, burning buildings, occupying a hospital, the university and city hall, seizing a Catholic priest and his worshippers and raising the black flag of the Islamic state.

Most residents of Marawi have fled the city which reportedly now looks like “a ghost town” after soldiers ordered civilians to leave their homes. Overall, the clashes have claimed 44 lives in four days of fighting, including militants, soldiers, policemen and security guards.

Meanwhile, neighbouring Malaysia and Indonesia stepped up security at border points and in the waters near the Philippines and also made precautions to accommodate possible civilian refugees.

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