AFP: Foreign terrorists in Marawi clash into illegal drug trade

DAVAO CITY — Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Spokesperson Restituto Padilla on Saturday confirmed that foreign terrorists were among those who aided the Maute Group in the siege of Marawi City.

“There are certain foreign elements here who have been in the country for a long time, aiding these terrorists in skills related to terrorism, primarily of bomb-making,” Gen. Padilla said.

According to Padilla, there have been reports of 12 Maute members neutralized in the on-going clearing operations, half of them were Singaporean, Indonesian and Malaysian nationals.

“Some have been here a long time, some of whom have been here helping, teaching, aiding, connecting them and linking these groups,” said Padilla.

While they have yet to confirm the identities of those foreign terrorists who have only just entered the country, the general said that those who have resided here may have been “trying to escape the long arm of the law in their respective countries.”

He also added that most of the members of the Maute Group have been involved in illegal drugs to generate money and purchase artillery.

“The president is right. They are involved in drugs,” he said. “In many of the instances where their camps have been overtaken by our troops, there is evidence of the presence of drug paraphernalia, particularly with this Maute Group, such that our soldiers have been reporting that they’ve been fighting suicidally, meaning, without any regard for their own safety and like zombies.”

On the other hand, a total number of 11 soldiers and two policemen were killed as of Saturday midnight, one was brutally beheaded.

“Our men and women in the Armed Forces are committed to this mission. Because of this commitment, it is sad that we have to offer lives in order to accomplish that,” said Padilla, adding that it is for the exact reason why it’s important for civilians to cooperate.

He also added that now more than ever, it is important for the country to become a member of nations who are collectively working to fight terrorism and extremism. PNA/