Philippine’s President Rodrigo Duterte has issued a decree to the country’s military to destroy and kill terrorists especially those from ISIS and Al Qaeda that has been wreaking havoc in the restive south of the country. The Philippines has been battling violent extremism in the southern parts with Jihadists committing atrocities with a purported impunity.
The order was given after Duterte visited soldiers wounded in battle when he encouraged the military to use all means necessary to root out the terrorists who are threatening the security and stability of the Asian country.
In May last year, IS-inspired rebels from the Maute group laid siege on the southern city of Marawi in a conflict that destroyed much of the city’s center and displaced some 300,000 people. The war, which lasted more than five months, left over 1,000 people dead and thousands more injured. Despite Duterte’s announcement on the end of the war in October, gun battles raged on in other parts of the south.
The Maute armed group is a band of fighters founded around 2012 by the Maute brothers, Omar and Abdullah Maute. Members of the group come from diverse backgrounds, including former members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). The group formed an alliance with the Abu Sayyaf and both pledged allegiance to ISIL, as the international group started to expand in Iraq and Syria in 2015. Both Maute brothers were reported killed in 2017 during the siege of Marawi.