President Duterte has confirmed Monday the connection of the Maute group with the international jihadist group known as Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
Duterte made the confirmation after the government’s intelligence community made the validation.
“We are not good today because finally, finally the intelligence community advised me that ISIS has connected with a group in the Philippines called the Maute. There’s a raging war now in Lanao,” he said.
The Maute group occupied an abandoned portion of Butig municipality in Lanao Del Sur last Saturday, prompting the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to launch an offensive.
At the last count, the AFP has confirmed 40 Maute members dead as a result of their determined attempt to wipe out the notorious muslim radicals down south.
The Maute group is believed to be also behind the bloody Sept. 2 Davao night market blast that left more than a dozen people killed and several others injured.
Earlier, Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza said the president “is fully aware of the challenges on the ground” and is taking “bold steps” to deal with the Maute terror group.
“The Maute situation is still a developing situation in Butig. It may be good for everyone to know that the ceasefire and ad hoc joint action group which are mechanisms of the Bangsamoro peace process are now operational to deal with the ground situation,” said Dureza.(Elena L. Aben)