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    Maute group’s capabilities “significantly degraded” — AFP

    by UNTV News   |   Posted on Saturday, June 17th, 2017

    FILE PHOTO: AFP spokesperson, Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla

    The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) does not deny the possibility that some Maute-ISIS terrorist group members were able to escape Marawi City and have gone to Iligan City and Cagayan de Oro.

    According to reports, some Maute members may have blended in with the evacuees during the first weeks of the clashes.

    However, the military is confident that these individuals can no longer launch attacks or sow great havoc in other places.

    “Safe to say, I can tell you, they don’t have the capacity to do what they have done in Marawi anymore,” AFP spokesperson, Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla, said in a press briefing.

    “Their capabilities have significantly degraded and they have specifically targeted Marawi to sow terror,” he added.

    Meanwhile, the military has launched proactive security measures and has been coordinating with local government units.

    The military also calls on the public to remain alert and vigilant against suspicious-looking persons and things to prevent enemies from carrying out their evil plans.

    Meanwhile, the military also reminds those who are planning to distribute assistance and relief efforts to the residents of Marawi city to coordinate with the local government units before going to the conflict area.

    This is after reports that the military allegedly prevented some left-leaning lawmakers from conducting their humanitarian assistance in Marawi City.

    “We don’t want anyone getting hit by any of these stray bullets if they go to Marawi itself. So in the interest of safety, we have been working closely with local government and its social welfare arm and health arm to provide the services needed by the evacuees, without necessarily having other people from the outside expose to danger,” explained Padilla. — Rosalie Coz | UNTV News and Rescue

     

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    Declaration of liberation in Marawi, premature – peace & security expert

    by UNTV   |   Posted on Friday, October 20th, 2017

    IMAGE_UNTV_NEWS_101917_DUTERTE IN MARAWI

    MANILA, Philippines — Although the battle is not yet over, President Rodrigo Duterte decided to declare on Tuesday the liberation of Marawi City from the influence of terrorists.

    This was after government troops killed terrorist leaders Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute.

    “I hereby declare Marawi City liberated from the terrorist influence that marks the beginning of rehabilitation. Huwag na natin itong ulitin kailanman (Let us not have a repeat of this ever),” said President Duterte.

    But for peace and security expert Prof. Rommel Banloi, it is still early to say that Marawi City is already terror-free.

    “The liberation of Marawi was declared considering the fact that the clearing operations in areas of Marawi City are ongoing, fights are still happening. In fact, as we speak now, the battle is continuing,” said the expert.

    One proof he said are the many residents who still cannot go back to their homes. Their situation has not changed, as well.

    It is also possible that President Duterte, in haste, declared the liberation of Marawi City after the military failed to miss the deadline several times.

    “The government may have been forced to declare liberation, though its premature because that kind of situation has been anticipated for a long time,” said the professor.

    Malacañang respects the statement of Banlaoi.

    However, the palace said that the declaration of the President is a strategic message.

    The government also believes the recovery of the city can now proceed.

    “As it has been reported and announced, this was a strategic message and technically the leadership has been neutralized and whatever forces that are left are non-significant. And it has been referred to should be a matter of police enforcement, so from the perspective of the government. Everything is aligned and on the road to recovery,” said Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella.  — Rosalie Coz | UNTV News and Rescue

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    20 more terrorists killed in latest encounter in Marawi City

    by UNTV   |   Posted on Friday, October 20th, 2017

    IMAGE_UNTV_NEWS_101917_Marawi

    MANILA, Philippines —Twenty more members of the ISIS-inspired Maute terrorist group have been killed by the government forces since Wednesday night until early  Thursday morning.

    In a statement, AFP Chief of Staff Eduardo Año said that 13 were Wednesday night and seven more were slain on Thursday morning in the continuing military pursuit against the terrorists.

    The government also confirmed the intelligence report that among those killed was Dr. Mammud Ahmad, the financier who purportedly took over the leadership of the group following the death of Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute.

    This is based on a statement by one of the rescued hostages, saying that as soon as he was found dead, Mammud was buried Wednesday night.

    The military is now searching for Mammud’s remains and the burial site.

    Año added that seven more hostages have been freed, including a mother and her daughter who got injured but is now out of danger.

    Meanwhile, six soldiers were wounded but are now in better condition.

    With this data, the military believes that the number of hostages remaining with the terrorists has now gone down to 20.

    Gen. Ano stressed that the military is still in high morale, so is their desire to end the crisis in Marawi City.

    In total, the number of fatalities from the terrorists’ side is now at 850, and 163 from the government forces. — Lea Ylagan | UNTV News & Rescue

     

     

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    Alleged ISIS recruiter nabbed in Taguig City

    by UNTV News   |   Posted on Wednesday, October 18th, 2017

    Karen Aizha Hamidon

    MANILA, Philippines – Thirty-six year old Karen Aizha Hamidon is facing 14 counts of inciting to rebellion for allegedly recruiting foreign terrorists to join the rebellion in Marawi City.

    She was arrested by agents of National Bureau of Investigation (NBI)-Counter Terrorism Division in her house in Taguig City last October 11 by virtue of a search warrant.

    More charges will be filed against Hamidon after investigators discovered from her cellphone 296 posts in social media application, Telegram calling on local and foreign terrorists to join the rebellion of Maute-ISIS.

    “This was the message that she posted when the operatives of the Counter Terrorism Division arrested her. She said that: ‘The soldiers of Taghut are desperate to defeat the Muhajireen of the Islamic State of Marawi City…but Wallahi they won’t be successful. They won’t be able to defeat the force of Dawlah because Allah (Azza wa Jaal is on their side).

    That is why the Dawlah is once again inviting all our Ikhwaanil Muslimeen in all parts of the Philippines and around the world to support our Muhajireen of East Asia. Let us go to Marawi, in Mindanao to join the war against the conquerors of the soldiers of Tawagheet’,” Atty. Raoul Manguerra said.

    Justice Sec. Vitaliano Aguirre said the charges against Hamidon could be elevated to rebellion.

    “Although she was not fighting with the ISIS or Maute group in Marawi, the action of the subject clearly denotes that she was in conspiracy with the rebels. So in my opinion, she should be charged not only of inciting to rebellion but of the crime of rebellion itself,” Aguirre said.

    Hamidon is allegedly the wife of Mohammad Jaafar Maguid, the slain leader of Ansar Khalifa Philippines, the group that orchestrated the bombing of Davao City night market in September last year.

    She was also a wife of Muhammad Shamin Mohammed Sidek, the Singaporean national arrested for his links to ISIS.

    NBI said Hamidon first became a person of interest in the middle of 2016 when she successfully recruited Indian nationals to join radical Islamic groups in Mindanao. – Roderic Mendoza | UNTV News & Rescue

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