Crush Abu Sayyaf, other ‘terror’ groups - Duterte
MANILA – After failing to bring the Abu Sayyaf and other jihadist groups to the negotiating table, President Rodrigo Duterte has – for the second time – ordered military forces to finish off the notorious rebel groups tied to the Islamic State.
Thousands of army troops were deployed in Mindanao to fight the Abu Sayyaf and other allied groups. The Armed Forces of the Philippines has set a deadline to destroy the rebels – 6 months.
Military chief Eduardo Año, a member of the Philippine Military Academy Class of 1983, said at least 4 dozen army battalions, have been tapped to carry out Duterte’s order, who was perceived by some as soft on rebels, but hard on drug users.
“Not in our history there has been that massive deployment of our troops,” Año said in a television interview, adding, the goal of the new government offensive is to wipe out these Abu Sayyaf and other terrorist groups.
Año said 51 battalions were deployed in the restive region. “We are going to make sure that our campaign against the Abu Sayyaf will be quick,” he said.
Aside from the Abu Sayyaf, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, Ansarul Khilafah, Khilafah Islamiyah Movement, Al-khobar Group, including so-called rogue Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebels, among others, also pledged allegiance to the Islamic State in an effort to establish a caliphate in Mindanao. These groups operate in the troubled Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
Members of the Khilafah Islamiyah Movement and its shadowy group Ghuraba train recruits in Lanao del Sur, one of 5 provinces under the Muslim autonomous region, in this screen shot from a propaganda video of Islamic State in the Philippines.