Drugs seized in City be­sieged by rebels

Bomb kills 6 Thai po­lice

Arab Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

MARAWI CITY, Philip­pines, June 19, (Agen­cies): The Philip­pine mil­i­tary found metham­phetamine worth be­tween $2 mil­lion to $5 mil­lion while clear­ing rebel po­si­tions in be­sieged Marawi City, of­fi­cials said on Mon­day, boost­ing sus­pi­cions Is­lamist mil­i­tants are be­ing funded by the nar­cotics trade.

The 11 bags of shabu, the lo­cal name for metham­phetamine, were re­cov­ered on Sun­day along with four as­sault ri­fles in the kitchen of a two-storey con­crete house be­lieved to be oc­cu­pied by fight­ers from the Maute mil­i­tant group.

“This strength­ens our find­ings that these ter­ror­ists are us­ing il­le­gal drugs,” Ma­jor-Gen­eral Car­l­ito Galvez, mil­i­tary com­man­der of western Min­danao, said in a state­ment. Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte, who launched a ruth­less ‘war on drugs’ af­ter com­ing to power a year ago, has said the Marawi fight­ers are be­ing fi­nanced by drug lords in Min­danao, an is­land the size of South Korea that has suf­fered for decades from ban­ditry and in­sur­gen­cies.

Fight­ing in Marawi City erupted on May 23 af­ter a bun­gled raid by se­cu­rity forces on a Maute hide­out, with gun­men owing al­le­giance to Is­lamic State seiz­ing bridges and build­ings and tak­ing hostages.

Duterte re­sponded by declar­ing mar­tial law in Min­danao.

The army said nearly 350 peo­ple, in­clud­ing 257 mil­i­tants, 62 sol­diers and 26 civil­ians, have been killed in four weeks of fight­ing.

The fight­ers were pre­pared for a long siege of Marawi, stock­pil­ing arms and food in tun­nels, base­ments, mosques and madrasas, or Is­lamic re­li­gious schools, mil­i­tary of­fi­cials have said.

Bun­dles of ban­knotes and cheques worth about $1.6 mil­lion were also dis­cov­ered ear­lier this month in an aban­doned rebel po­si­tion.

Jo-Ar Her­rera, a mil­i­tary spokesman, told a me­dia brief­ing the mil­i­tants were also us­ing com­mer­cial drones to mon­i­tor troop move­ments.


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