‘Army can beat ex­trem­ists’

7 Days in Dubai - - GLOBAL NEWS -

Philippine Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte has re­jected pro­pos­als to de­clare a state of emer­gency on a vi­o­lent south­ern is­land to more rapidly de­feat Abu Sayyaf ex­trem­ists.

Duterte (in­set) also an­nounced yes­ter­day that gov­ern­ment troops and po­lice would not en­force a war­rant for the ar­rest of prom­i­nent Mus­lim rebel leader Nur Misuari, who leads one of two large Is­lamic in­sur­gent groups in the coun­try’s south, so they could talk.

Duterte has pur­sued talks with Misuari’s Moro Na­tional Lib­er­a­tion Front and the larger Moro Is­lamic Lib­er­a­tion Front, how­ever he has or­dered troops to de­stroy the smaller but more bru­tal Abu Sayyaf, which is no­to­ri­ous for bomb­ings, ran­som kid­nap­pings and be­head­ings.

A mas­sive mil­i­tary of­fen­sive in Sulu, a pre­dom­i­nantly Mus­lim prov­ince where the Abu Sayyaf has had a long pres­ence in lush jun­gles, has left 30 mil­i­tants dead, in­clud­ing an influential com­man­der. The Abu Sayyaf, how­ever, struck back on Mon­day as the coun­try was cel­e­brat­ing na­tional he­roes’ day, and killed 15 sol­diers, in­clud­ing an of­fi­cer, in fight­ing off Sulu’s moun­tain­ous Patikul town.

Asked if he would re­lent to a long­stand­ing pro­posal by mil­i­tary of­fi­cials to place Sulu un­der a state of emer­gency to al­low gov­ern­ment forces to ar­rest mil­i­tants more eas­ily, Duterte said he would not.

“No, it’s just puni­tive po­lice ac­tion by the se­cu­rity forces of the gov­ern­ment,” Duterte said at a news con­fer­ence. “The mag­ni­tude of the trou­ble there does not war­rant any­thing ex­cept the in­dus­try of the” mil­i­tary and po­lice.

Duterte asked Misuari to come out of hid­ing after be­ing crim­i­nally charged for his role in a 2013 rebel siege.

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