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Philippines: MILF warns of IS threat in south February 20

Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) warns of Islamic State (IS) threat in southern Philippines February 20; Islamist militant activity possible southern Philippines in the coming weeks

20 Feb 11:05 PM UTC
TIMEFRAME expected from 2/20/2018, 12:00 AM until 2/22/2018, 11:59 PM (Asia/Manila). COUNTRY/REGION Mindanao Island
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Event

On Tuesday, February 20, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) warned Philippine authorities of the threats of Islamic State (IS)-affiliated violence and of an IS siege of a city in the southern Philippines (similar to the Marawi siege of 2017). MILF leadership added that IS militants have migrated from Indonesia and Malaysia to the southern Philippines in recent months and have sought increased influence in madrasas (Islamic religious schools) after pro-IS militants were defeated in Marawi in late October 2017. Renewed Islamist militant activity is possible in the southern Philippines (Mindanao) in the coming weeks.

Context

Reports since mid-2016 increasingly suggest that the southern Philippines has become a new haven for IS militants due to the increasing activity and presence of radical Islamist groups that are tied to global terrorist networks.

Fighting started in Marawi in May 2017, following a botched government raid on a hideout sheltering the late Isnilon Hapilon, former leader of the IS-affiliated Abu Sayyaf group, and was cleared of Islamist militants in October 2017 following the deaths of Hapilon and Omarkhayan Maute, former leader of the IS-affiliated Maute group. Over 1100 people, including at least 897 militants, 167 security personnel, and 57 civilians, died in subsequent fighting, with another 600,000 people displaced.

Advice

Individuals in the southern Philippines are advised to monitor developments to the situation, remain vigilant for potential militant activity, and obey all instructions issued by the local authorities.

As a reminder, some Western governments formally advise against travel to western and central Mindanao, including Marawi, and to the Sulu Archipelago due to militant activity and regular clashes between the military and insurgent groups.

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