Duterte warns of another attack in Philippines south

While visiting bombing victims, president warns of younger generation of militants who have pledged allegiance to ISIL

Duterte warns of another attack in Philippines south

World Bulletin / News Desk

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has warned that another attack could strike the country’s troubled south while visiting victims of an explosion earlier this month that left 15 people dead.

The Philippine Star reported Tuesday that during his visit to Davao City -- where he served 22 years as mayor -- Duterte underlined the threat posed by a younger generation of militants in the Mindanao island region who have been influenced by ISIL.

“There will be another explosion, not in Davao but in another area in Mindanao,” he said while attending ceremonies during which financial assistance was provided to victims of the Sept. 2 attack claimed by the Abu Sayyaf.

“They are the young ones who have already sworn allegiance to the ISIS [ISIL],” he added.

“That is the next great battle of the century -- terrorism and civilization,” underlined the president, who had declared a state of lawlessness after the Davao attack that also left 70 people wounded.

“Hopefully, in the fullness of God’s time, we would be able to establish really law and order in this country. There are simply too many gangsters and terrorists, simply too many battles here and there,” he said.

He met with at least 48 victims of the bombing and their families, promising them financial assistance.

Earlier this week, Duterte said the Abu Sayyaf is shifting its focus from kidnap-for-ransom activities to establishing a “caliphate” in conflict-ridden Mindanao.

Authorities suspect the Davao attack was conducted in retaliation to an all-out military offensive against the group in the majority Muslim island provinces of Sulu and Basilan.

Since 1991, the Abu Sayyaf -- armed with mostly improvised explosive devices, mortars and automatic rifles -- has carried out bombings, kidnappings, assassinations and extortions in a self-determined fight for an independent province in the Philippines.

It is notorious for beheading victims after ransoms have failed to be paid for their release.

The Abu Sayyaf is among two militant groups in the south who have pledged allegiance to ISIL, prompting fears during the stalling of a peace process between the government and the country's biggest Moro group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, that it could make inroads in a region torn by decades of armed conflict.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2016, 12:37