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Duterte warns that he might “invade” Abu Sayyaf’s island stronghold

The president has raised the possibility of “invading” the island of Jolo, a lair of Abu Sayyaf

President Duterte warned today (Wednesday, April 19) that he might “invade” an island stronghold of Abu Sayyaf to “finish the game” following the foiled kidnapping raid on Bohol last week.

The president also offered cash rewards for the capture, dead or alive, of six militants still at large following the clash on the island, which left six rebels and four members of the security forces dead.

The gun battle on the popular tourist island followed a US Embassy warning about travel to the region, citing unconfirmed intelligence of possible kidnap plans.

The attack represented a new chapter for the Islamic State-affiliated terror group, happening hundreds of miles from its southern strongholds on Jolo, Tawi Tawi and Basilan islands.

The president said that the group must not be allowed to extend its reach. “I will, maybe, invade Jolo,” Duterte told reporters after a security briefing in Tagbilaran City, Bohol. “All army, navy, will go there. It will be a fight. That’s what they want, I will give it.”

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Referring to Abu Sayyaf’s strongholds, he said: “They must stay there. My order to the navy… is to blow them up, no surrender. Shoot cannons, destroy them.”

Duterte said he wanted civilians to join the manhunt on Bohol and offered a reward of six million pesos ($120,668) for each of the six fugitives.

He also warned that Abu Sayyaf might try to “create a disaster” at a meeting of trade officials of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) being held on Bohol from today.

While discussing the terror threat, the president predictably veered onto the topic of his war on drugs. “My order is dead or alive. My enemy is drugs and terrorists,” he said. “These drug addicts, they have firearms. Almost all of them are really paranoid. They fight.”

MORE ON ABU SAYYAF AND TERRORISM IN THE PHILIPPINES:

Abu Sayyaf planned mass kidnapping of tourists on Easter Sunday

Nine dead after Islamic-State linked terrorists storm tourist island

US Embassy warns that terror groups plan to kidnap tourists in Cebu and Bohol

Abu Sayyaf terrorists kill three militiamen, while others lay down arms

Couple suspected of Islamic State bomb plot arrested in Manila

Battle-hardened Islamic State fighters plan to regroup in southern Philippines

Australian foreign minister fears Islamic State is coming to the Philippines

Factsheet: The Abu Sayyaf terror group – who they are and what they do

“Now he kills me”: Last words of German beheaded by Abu Sayyaf

Duterte says Abu Sayyaf ‘not criminals’, and blames US for terrorism

Islamic State plotting new terror stronghold in Mindanao

Islamic State chief seriously wounded as he plotted new lair for terrorists

UK jihadist who said bullet-proof boxer shorts were “snake protection” found guilty

Islamic State cash flows into Philippines disguised as OFW remittances

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