Islamic State (IS)-affiliated militants continue to pose a security threat in Mindanao. According to Philippine military sources, around 200 Islamist militants are active on the island and have clashed with security forces after the city of Marawi was cleared of militants in October 2017. Despite their recent defeat, the IS-affiliated fighters are still reportedly attempting to reestablish a "caliphate" in the southern Philippines. Additional clashes between Islamist militants and security forces and heightened security measures are possible in Mindanao in the coming weeks.
Since mid-2016, reports 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.
On February 20, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) warned Philippine authorities of the threats of IS-affiliated violence and of another 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.
Individuals in the southern Philippines (Mindanao) 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.