28 September 2017

News Story: Duterte now claims arrest warrant vs drug lord triggered Marawi siege

Philippines Dictator Rodrigo Duterte
By Ian Nicolas Cigaral

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday claimed that the deadly Marawi siege, which has dragged on since May, erupted after security forces served a warrant of arrest on a drug lord operating there.

“The Marawi war was ignited by the service of a summon and a warrant of arrest of one of the drug lords there,” Duterte said in his speech during the 56th anniversary of the Philippine Constitution Association.

“There was a firefight and that started the rebellion. And I was really aghast to know that until now, they have so many bullets, ordnance and everything that the fight is still going on,” he added.

The president's claim runs counter to what security forces have been saying since hostilities in the city began months ago.

According to the military, a failed attempt by government troops to arrest Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon in Marawi on May 23 triggered the battle against the Maute group, homegrown jihadist militants who claim allegiance with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and backed by some foreign fighters.

"A firefight ensued and our troops reacted properly, but as of tonight, in the Philippines, the Maute group burned several facilities (in the city)," Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said in a briefing from Moscow the night of the attacks.

Read the full story at PhilStar