The remaining Maute Group terrorists are now just pocketed in an area measuring less than one-square kilometer in Marawi City, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief-of-staff Gen. Eduardo Año said late Monday.
Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon
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President Rodrigo Duterte has slammed Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon for accepting the role of "emir" in Southeast Asia from the Islamic State (ISIS), a move which was believed to have made the Maute group stronger over the past year.
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The Philippines, especially Mindanao, is being eyed by ISIS terrorists as another base for operations after their failure to establish a caliphate in Indonesia, a Singaporean analyst on security affairs has said.
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President Rodrigo Duterte has offered a reward totaling P20 million for any information that will lead to the capture of Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon and brothers Abdullah and Omar Maute.
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There is a possibility that the conflict in Marawi City will spill over to other areas in Mindanao since the membership of the terrorist Maute group has swelled from an initial 200 to some 500.
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What was supposed to be a rebellion has mutated into a foreign invasion in Mindanao.