President Duterte has warned of imminent terror attacks, as the Army reveals that about 50 foreign jihadis are recruiting new fighters in the south of the country.
Speaking at the launch of a new air traffic control system in Pasay City yesterday (Tuesday, January 16) he said threats were “coming in fast” about attacks on airports, ports and other public places.
He added that he had called for an emergency meeting, saying: “I’m also reminded of the serious threat now but I hope that you have to raise the awareness not only of the senses — and just maybe it’s good to anticipate that there’s gonna be one in the coming days about terrorism.
“They’d like to blow up where our people converge such as airports, pantalan (pier), park… because of what happened in the Mindanao provinces today. As I have said, the threat remains.
Meanwhile, Major General Fernando Trinidad, the Army’s deputy intelligence chief, said about 48 foreign jihadis were currently training new recruits in Mindanao.
His words came during a presentation to the Supreme Court to justify the declaration of extended martial law across the southern island.
He told the court that dozens of foreign jihadis from Indonesia and Malaysia entered Mindanao last November. This month, he added, an Egyptian also made his way into the southern Philippines.
He also expressed fears that the jihadi fighting force had now risen to nearly 400 — “almost the same strength that initially turned up in Marawi,” he said.
With the death of former leader Isnilon Hapilon and the Maute brothers, Trinidad said new leaders were emerging.
It is not yet known if any have yet taken on the role of ’emir’, or regional leader, but potential candidates include:
•Filipino Owayda Marohomsar or Abu Dar
•Indonesian Abu Walid
•Unidentified Egyptian national