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Monday, May 29, 2017

Could the Philippines become an ISIL stronghold?

The Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in the southern island of Mindanao, after a group of militants affiliated to the Islamic State militant group (ISIL) stormed the island’s capital city. After Philippine troops raided a hideout in search of Isnilon Hapilon, who is reportedly the Islamic State leader in Southeast Asia, fighters from the Maute group attacked the city of Marawi. Residents were urged to stay indoors as violence broke out between the militants and security forces. As of Saturday, the city remains under rebel control.
Duterte has declared martial law—the suspension of ordinary law and implementation of military rule, for the entire island of Mindanao—and suspended habeas corpus there, giving authorities the right to detain prisoners without trial. The second largest island in the Philippines, it is home to a number of militant groups, including Abu Sayyaf and MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front). Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said: “This is possible on the grounds of existence of rebellion because of what is happening in Mindanao.”
Martial law can last up to 60 days, and Duterte has long promised to impose it in Mindanao, which is known for its militancy and associations with Islamism. The Philippines is a Christian majority country, but since 2016, there have been concerns that the southern Philippines could become a de facto “wilayat or Islamic State province.

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