Maute could be sourcing guns from relatives: military

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 19 2017 01:36 PM

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MANILA - A military spokesman believes Maute extremists could have sourced their guns a long time ago from relatives who are members of the two Moro rebel groups in Mindanao. 

In a press briefing, Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said it is not impossible that Maute Group members may have had links to other insurgent groups in the southern region.

"Itong firearms na maaaring nandiyan ngayon sa Marawi potentially noong araw pa at matagal nang panahon," Padilla said. 

"Some of the members of the Maute group may have relatives in other groups or armed groups. There are so many armed groups in Mindanao that could potentially be a source of firearms for this group," he added, stressing as well that there has to be an effort to get all these loose firearms.

Over the weekend, reports quoted President Rodrigo Duterte as saying that the government knew that the terrorists were stockpiling firearms and ammunition in Marawi City but authorities did not intervene because of the peace negotiations with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and Moro National Liberation Front. 

“It was not a question of failure on the part of government. It was not a failure of intelligence. It is because we have adopted a very soft policy toward the rebels. These rebels carry firearms. And since we are thinking of getting [a] peace [deal] with the MNLF and MILF, the deal with arms, we really took it for granted,” Duterte said when he visited the 401st Infantry Brigade in Butuan City.

The leadership of the MILF, a splinter group of the MNLF, and Duterte are in talks for a Bangsamoro entity in Mindanao.

ANC, June 19, 2017