Philippine President Duterte says no lifting of martial law 'until last terrorist is taken out'

Philippine soldiers walk past destroyed buldings in Bangolo district, after President Rodrigo Duterte declared Marawi City "liberated", in Marawi on Oct 17, 2017. PHOTO: AFP

MANILA (THE PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has said he would not lift martial law in Mindanao "until the last terrorist is taken out."

"When the time came, I declared martial law. Everybody is asking when will it stop? It will not stop until the last terrorist is taken out," Duterte said in a speech in Manila on Thursday (Oct 19).

The President made the remarks two days after he announced the liberation of the city of Marawi from terrorists.

On Monday, Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon and Maute leader Omar Maute were killed in military operations.

On Thursday, Duterte and military spokesperson Restituto Padilla confirmed that Malaysian militant Mahmud Ahmad, believed to be the financier of the Maute Group, had also been killed.

Duterte had declared martial law in Mindanao on May 23 after the homegrown Maute terrorists attacked Marawi City in a bid to establish a caliphate there.

After the 60-day expiration, Congress granted the extension of martial law until Dec 31.

Duterte said last month that he would lift his martial law declaration after the clearing operations.

Padilla had said on Tuesday that consultations would be held to determine whether martial law could now be lifted.

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