Attacks in other cities by terror group unlikely – DND chief

MANILA-- Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said it is very unlikely that lawless elements, allied to the Maute Group terrorists now being neutralized in Marawi City, can conduct a similar attack in another city in the region.

He made this statement during the sidelights of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council meeting at the AFP Commissioned Officers' Club in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City Tuesday.

Lorenzana said he seriously doubted this claim as the Maute Group was able to conduct its attacks in Marawi City due to the presence of their numerous relatives and supporters.

"They (Maute Group) have a lot of relatives there and the culture (in the area) is to help your family. Now if you are looking (to conduct attacks) at Cotabato City, Iligan or even in Jolo, and Basilan, they will have a hard time because these areas are not their bailiwick," he added in Filipino.

Fighting with the Maute Group terrorists started shortly after attempts by the military to apprehend Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon, a staunch ally of the lawless elements, last May 23.

As of this posting, the number of Maute Group terrorists neutralized is placed at 337 with 82 government troops killed and 44 civilians executed.

Source: Philippines News Agency