IT’S understandable that the military isn’t telling us where they think remnants of the Maute terrorist group and its supporters are likely to make their next move after their resounding debacle in Marawi City last year. After all, they obviously don’t want to sow any panic among the people in the perceived terrorist targets.
What we know at this point, however, based on recent military disclosures, is that the remaining Mautes have teamed up with a faction of the Abu Sayyaf bandit group, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and possibly with some foreign jihadists from nearby Indonesia and Malaysia and are actively recruiting people to join them in pursuing their dream of a Southeast Asian caliphate based in Mindanao.
The military said recently that four to six urban areas in Mindanao could be the next Marawi. This revelation comes close on the heels of reports that a certain Abu Dar, said to be a sub-leader of the Mautes in Marawi, has assumed the post of emir of the Islamic State in Southeast Asia after the killing of Isnilon Hapilon.
If the report is accurate, then we shouldn’t be surprised at all that another siege ala Marawi may be in the offing. The military and the police should therefore monitor the security situation in cities in Mindanao where the jihadists are likely to strike and take the necessary steps to prevent another terrorist attack from taking place.
We cannot afford to have another Marawi which has yet to recover from devastation. Martial law that’s still in effect in the whole of Mindanao until the end of this year should be fully utilized to hunt down the terrorists and stop them from carrying out another bloody episode of murder and mayhem in our southern shores.