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MSU prof warns another siege in Mindanao

A Mindanao State University (MSU) professor and leader of Save Sulu Movement warned of another siege in major cities in Mindanao, confirming information of an ongoing recruitment by the terrorist group left by slain Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon.

Prof. Octavio Dinampo on Monday called on Mindanaoans to continue to be vigilant against the plan of the terrorist group Abdullah Al Islamiah to launch another Marawi-like siege in major cities in Mindanao.

He mentioned Iligan, Cagayan de Oro, Cotabato, Davao, and General Santos cities as target areas.

Dinampo said Abdullah Al Islamiah has continued with its recruitment especially in six Sulu municipalities – Jolo, Patikul, Indanan, Maimbung, Parang, Kalilangan Caluang, where they are moving at nighttime when soldiers are sleeping. The areas are adjacent to each other which made it easier for the group members to move from one place to another.

He said there is a need for the military to take over these areas to keep the group’s movement under control.

He said the group now is led by Malaysian militant Amin Baku, the most senior terrorist leader and could be the emir after Hapilon.

“God forbids something is being cooked by this group,” he told reporters in an interview Monday.

Dinampo said the members of the group maybe few but, they are bringing a very dangerous idea and recruiting people who are mostly unschooled and gullible with the promise of money.

Also, he alleged that the group is backed up by the rich people mostly politicians. It is even more dangerous as leaders of the group are not afraid to die. They consider death as honourable, Dinampo said.

Dinampo warned to watch out in May when Muslims observe Ramadan.

He recalled that the Marawi siege was originally planned for May this year but it was moved ahead when authorities served the warrant of arrest to Hapilon.

But, now the group is targeting mainland Mindanao, Dinampo said based on his research and monitoring.

“We have information that the group behind this has recently met to discuss the possibility of moving on with the original plan. They reportedly met in December to talk about the original schedule in Marawi,” Dinampo further bared.

Dinampo urged people in Mindanao especially in major cities to continue to be vigilant.

The Save Sulu Movement is a civil society organization working to end hostility and terrorism in Mindanao.

Lilian Mellejor / PNA