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Warning out on another Marawi-like siege

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(Photo from Manila Bulletin)


DAVAO CITY — A Mindanao State University (MSU) professor and leader of Save Sulu Movement has supported pronouncements by President Rodrigo Duterte and the Armed Forces of the Philippines on possible Marawi-like siege in major cities in Mindanao.


This as Prof. Octavio Dinampo warned of another siege as he confirmed information of an ongoing recruitment by the terrorist group left by slain Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon.


At the same time, Dinampo called on Mindanaoans to continue to be vigilant against the plan of the terrorist group Abdullah Al Islamiah to launch another Marawi-like siege in major cities in Mindanao.


He identified the terrorists' targets as the cities of Iligan, Cagayan de Oro, Cotabato, Davao, and General Santos.


Dinampo said Abdullah Al Islamiah has continued with its recruitment especially in six Sulu municipalities – Jolo, Patikul, Indanan, Maimbung, Parang, Kalilangan Caluang, where they are moving at nighttime when soldiers are sleeping. The areas are adjacent to each other which made it easier for the group members to move from one place to another.


He said there is a need for the military to take over these areas to keep the group’s movement under control.


He said the group now is led by Malaysian militant Amin Baku, the most senior terrorist leader and could be the emir after Hapilon.


“God forbids something is being cooked by this group,” he said.


Dinampo said the members of the group maybe few but, they are bringing a very dangerous idea and recruiting people who are mostly unschooled and gullible with the promise of money.


Also, he alleged that the group is backed up by the rich people mostly politicians. It is even more dangerous as leaders of the group are not afraid to die. They consider death as honourable, Dinampo said.


Dinampo warned to watch out in May when Muslims observe Ramadan.


He recalled that the Marawi siege was originally planned for May this year but it was moved ahead when authorities served the warrant of arrest to Hapilon.

But, now the group is targeting mainland Mindanao, Dinampo said based on his research and monitoring.


“We have information that the group behind this has recently met to discuss the possibility of moving on with the original plan. They reportedly met in December to talk about the original schedule in Marawi,” Dinampo further bared.


Dinampo urged people in Mindanao especially in major cities to continue to be vigilant.


The Save Sulu Movement is a civil society organization working to end hostility and terrorism in Mindanao. 


To fully neutralize terror threats, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is now studying the recruitment patterns of the extremist militants.


Brig. Gen. Bienvenido Datuin, AFP spokesperson, said this would greatly help the military in preventing and countering violent extremism from taking root in the country.


But he said that they are still to confirm reports that terror groups are now recruiting new members in an attempt to beef up their numbers from heavy losses in AFP-initiated offensives against them.


Earlier, the military official said that they were closely monitoring coastal waters and other areas under the Western Mindanao Command following reports that around 40 terrorists had managed to infiltrate the area.


Menwhile, a key leader of the Islamic State-linked Maute terror group which took part in the five-month long siege of Marawi City was presented by police officials to the media Monday after he was arrested in Divisoria by elements of the Manila Police Department working with military intelligence officers over the weekend.


Spouses Abdul Nasser and Raisalam Lomondot, both from Lanao del Sur were arrested along C. M. Recto Ave. in Divisoria, Manila on Saturday while in possession of a grenade and a handgun.


"We are able to send a message to the Maute that you can run but you cannot hide. The long arm of the law will catch up with you," Philippine National Police Director General Ronaldo dela Rosa said of the development during a press briefing.

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