Marawi siege has ended but not Islamist militancy—analyst
KOTA KINABALU, Malaysia — The deaths of key Islamic State (IS) leaders in the Marawi City siege are just a temporary setback as the militant group has sown seeds of hatred deeply in the southern Philippines, says an analyst.
“The just-concluded battle in Marawi was not just a spur-of-the-moment campaign. It involved thorough planning and preparations since 2014,” said Octovio Dinampo, an anti-kidnapping activist based in Jolo.
He said those who failed to emerge would certainly regroup.
On Monday, the Philippines declared an end to five months of urban warfare in Marawi City held by IS militants.
“There are no more militants in Marawi,” he told the media.
Two Malaysians – former Universiti Malaya lecturer Dr Mahmud Ahmad and former Selayang Municipal Council officer Muhammad Joraimee Awang Raimee aka Abu Nur – were killed in Marawi City.
Dinampo said the pronouncement that Marawi City had been freed and liberated from the clutches of terrorism “is far from the truth”.
“It is just a matter of time under a new leadership when this same cause will be repeated,” he said, referring to IS leaders who were killed on the battlefield of Marawi City – including the Maute brothers, IS “emir” for South-East Asia Isnilon Hapilon and Dr Mahmud.
The militants, he said, were able to tie up a conventional armed force in an urban war of attrition for almost five months, which the Moro National LiberationFront (MNLF) had failed to do in the past.
Dinampo warned that as long as historical injustices were not redressed, there would be an ample supply of warriors who could be enticed to join the militants anytimebefore or even after a temporary peace settlement resolved the longstanding Bangsamoro issue.
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