|Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte|
MANILA, June 4 (Xinhua) -- Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday invited Muslim rebels to join the Philippine military in the fight against ISIS militants.
In a speech before the troops in Mactan in Cebu City in the central Philippines, Duterte said that he has accepted the offer of Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founding chairman Nur Misuari to integrate some 2,000 to 3,000 MNLF fighters into the Armed Force of the Philippines to help crush the Maute group.
The government security forces are now fighting close to 200 to 250 Maute militants holed up in the southern Philippine city of Marawi. The group has pledged loyalty to the ISIS.
Fighting between the government troops and the Maute fighters broke out on May 23 when the militants tried to occupy Marawi in a bid to make it a caliphate for ISIS. The military said 120 militants, 30 civilians and 38 soldiers and policemen have been killed in the sporadic fighting.
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