MANILA (The Philippine Daily Inquirer/Asia News Network) - Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday (June 1) said the international terror group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) was behind the terror attacks in Marawi city.
"What's really happening, the rebellion in Mindanao, it's not Maute; it's purely ISIS with different brands because they started it," Duterte said in a speech during the oath-taking of newly appointed government officials at MalacaÃ±ang. Maute is a Philippine-based militant group that has pledged allegiance to ISIS.
He said the Marawi siege, which started on May 23, "has long been planned" after ISIS named Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon as its emir in the country.
"They went there. The Marawi attack has long been planned. It could not be just a decision that, 'Let's go to Mindanao.' It has been thoroughly planned," he said.
"When Hapilon's name became famous in Central Mindanao and he was anointed as the emir, that's the time I sensed something terribly wrong is going to happen," he added.
The president said the terrorists in Mindanao were funded by drug money."Maute is just the family name of two brothers. They started and I warned you before, I'm warning you now that ISIS, has no more funds and I said, by the time they are pushed back and they lose the landmass, they will scamper to everywhere," he said.
"Drug money is fuelling the insurrection. They really meant this to happen," he said.