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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Duterte reveals cousin in Maute Group died in fighting

MANILA — “I am also bleeding like you.”

After six days of absence from the public eye, President Duterte attended on Tuesday night a MalacaƱang dinner to mark the Islamic feast of Eid’l Fitr and said that a cousin of his had died in the fighting in Marawi.

The President told those present, who included top government officials and Moro leaders like Moro Islamic Liberation Front chair Al-Hajj Murad Ebrahim, that a cousin of his who fought on the side of the Maute terrorists was among the dead in the city.

“I am also bleeding like you. That is why I don’t what to talk about (the fighting) even in the Cabinet, because I feel pain. I have cousins there in the Maute,” Mr. Duterte said.

“Because they were there, a cousin of mine died. They went there … one truck,” he said.

The President said he had had urged his cousins, some of whom went there for “for the sake of adventure,” not to join the fight.

He said that, even while he was still in Moscow declaring martial law over Mindanao due to the crisis in Marawi, he already knew that “it would be a long fight.”

“I am not happy that Maranaos are dying. I am not happy with what you are suffering now. I don’t see any satisfaction even in winning the war,” Mr. Duterte said.

“I just wanted this thing over and those radicals out of the Muslim world,” he added.

The President promised that he would look for funds to rebuild Marawi after the fighting ends.

“One thing I will promise you, my brother Moro, I will see to it that Marawi will rise as a prosperous city again,” he said.

“I will again rebuild Marawi because , if not, I will remain forever the bad guy,” he added.

Mr. Duterte also recalled his promise to the Bangsamoro people for “a framework of a federal government to give more authority and a wide discretion of what you would want your island to be.”

“Long before I won the election, I already sent my daughter-in-law to Jolo that I wanted to talk to everybody that in case, God willing, I will win, we can talk because I am a man in a hurry,” Mr. Duterte said.

“Because even in the preparation, the gestation period, it would take long,” he added.  SFM

By Philip C Tubeza

More news......
Hostages forced to fight, loot and become sex slaves, says army
MARAWI CITY: Civilians held hostage by militants occupying a southern Philippine city have been forced by their captors to loot homes, take up arms against government troops and serve as sex slaves for rebel fighters, the army said.

Citing accounts of seven residents of Marawi City who either escaped or were rescued, the military said some hostages were forced to convert to Islam, carry wounded fighters to mosques, and marry militants of the Maute group loyal to Islamic State.

“So they are being forced to be sex slaves, forced to destroy the dignity of these women,” military spokesman Jo-Ar Herrera told a news conference.

“So this is what is happening inside, this is very evident ... these are evil personalities.”

Their accounts, which could not be immediately verified, are the latest harrowing stories to come out of a conflict zone that the military has been unable to penetrate for five weeks, as well-armed and organised rebels fight off soldiers with sniper rifles and rocket-propelled grenades.

Some escapees say bodies of residents have been left in the streets, some for weeks, and civilians are distressed by government air strikes and artillery bombardments that have reduced parts of Marawi to rubble.

The protracted seizure has worried the region about the extent the Islamic State’s agenda may have gained traction in the southern Philippines, which is more used to banditry, piracy and separatism than radical ideology.

The rebels’ combat capability, access to heavy weapons and use of foreign fighters has raised fears in the mainly Catholic country that the Marawi battle could just be the start of a wider campaign, and be presented by Maute as a triumph to aid their recruitment efforts.

Heavy clashes broke out yesterday as the battle entered its sixth week, with intense bombings by planes on a shrinking rebel zone.

The government ruled out nego­tiations after reports that Abdullah Maute, one of two brothers who formed the militant group carrying their name, wanted to trade a Catholic priest hostage for his pa­­rents arrested earlier this month.

The military said on Saturday that Abdullah Maute had fled. — Reuters

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