PacificSentinel Note: President Duterte has a habit of playing fast and loose with the truth, so make of this story what you will.
By Alexis Romero and Paolo Romero
Maute assets seizure pushed
MANILA, Philippines - The leader of the Islamic State (IS) himself ordered the siege of Marawi City, which has been ravaged by prolonged clashes between government forces and Maute militants for the past three weeks, President Duterte said yesterday.
Speaking to reporters in Cagayan de Oro City, Duterte said IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi “specifically ordered the conduct of terroristic activities in the Philippines.”
“We had known all along the buildup here in Marawi. That is why if you were tracking my statements in public, (what I said) was, ‘Do not force my hand into it.’ Because there were already terroristic acts… the victims were innocent men and women and children,” Duterte said.
“We suffered several casualties. I did not expect it to be that serious. Now, lumabas na si Baghdadi mismo (it turned out that Baghdadi himself), the leader of the ISIS, has specifically ordered terroristic activities here in the Philippines,” he added.
Duterte previously claimed that the Maute group has links with the IS, which adheres to an extremist interpretation of Islam and promotes violence against non-Muslims. He said wanted terrorist Isnilon Hapilon has been named leader of the IS in the Philippines and is seeking to establish a caliphate in the country.
The Philippines was a bit complacent on the looming threats in Mindanao, according to the President.
“But the military and the police, they warned me that it has become critical in Mindanao,” he said.
Read the full story at PhilStar