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The Philippine President Declares His Intentions in Mindanao

May 25, 2017 | 14:34 GMT
President Duterte said he was considering expanding martial law to the Visayas region and even Luzon, where the capital is, especially if terrorist groups spread their activities beyond Mindanao.
Military checkpoints, like this one in the Mindanao town of Ampatuan, will become a part of life under martial law in the Philippines. It won't guarantee peace in the restive southern regions, but it will doubtless stir up political controversy across the country.
(TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has followed through with repeated threats to escalate the fight against Islamist militants in Mindanao. On May 23, Duterte declared martial law across the restive southern region after hundreds of militants from the Maute Group and Abu Sayyaf, two local Islamic State affiliates, made an ambitious counter-assault on Philippine troops in Marawi City. Videos of the incident showed young, heavily armed men riding around the capital of Lanao del Sur province in trucks, brandishing weapons and hoisting the black and white Islamic State flag outside public buildings. The show of force drew comparisons to the Islamic State's sudden seizure of the Iraqi city of Mosul in 2014 and compelled Duterte to cut short a state visit to Moscow. A spokesman for the Philippine military announced May 24 that it had retaken control of most of Marawi City. But Duterte is laying the groundwork for a broader crackdown....

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