MANILA-- The Armed Forces of the Philippine (AFP) is validating reports regarding claims that 1,200 ISIS operatives are currently in the country.
This was stressed by AFP public affairs office chief Col. Edgard Arevalo Monday even as he announced that these figures did not come from the military.
"And if there is such a number, it might include all the local terrorists in the Philippines," he added in Filipino.
"We are going to validate that number, we can't say that it is wrong (for now as) it has to go through a process of validation," Arevalo stressed.
These figures make it more relevant that focused military operations against the Maute Group terrorists and their allies in Marawi City be conducted until all of the lawless elements are neutralized.
"Our objective now is to neutralize them and to ensure (that) after this incident or the conflict in Marawi City, they will lose their capacity to mount another terror act or rebellion against the government," he noted.
Earlier, Indonesia Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu claimed there 1,200 ISIS fighters in the Philippines, of which 40 are Indonesian.
He added only cooperation, understanding and consensus can prevent these terrorists from setting up roots in Southeast Asia.
Source: Philippines News Agency