By Jaime Laude
MANILA, Philippines — Foreign terrorists linked to the Islamic State (IS) took advantage of the pullout of US forces from Mindanao to enter the Philippines and stockpile their weapons and bombs in Marawi City, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana bared yesterday.
Lorenzana made this disclosure at the closing rites of this year’s US-Philippines anti-terrorism drill simultaneously held in the country and in Hawaii.
“The drawdown of US military forces in the south between 2010 and 2012 may have left us blindsided and threat groups as well as the Islamic State-inspired people were able to come in and were able to stockpile their weapons and bombs, all the materials, in Marawi City,” Lorenzana said.
Prior to the downscaling of US anti-terorrism forces in Mindanao, the number of US servicemen providing intelligence, monitoring and technical assistance to Filipino troops fighting the Abu Sayyaf and other Muslim militants in Mindanao were about a size of a brigade.
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