AFP verifying reports of Maute recruitment, new offensive

Image from Batang North Cotabato's Facebook account
  • Military checking purported recruitment by Maute group in Marawi City
  • Official said they are ready for any reprisals or new offensives by militants
  • He also urged public to cooperate and give information on group’s movements

MANILA, Philippines – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said it is verifying reports of the Maute group purportedly recruiting new members in ravaged Marawi City.

According to public affairs Col. Edgard Arevalo, the military is prepared for any reprisals or new offensives the militants may conduct.

“Inaasahan natin ang kanilang pagre-recruit sapagkat they will not settle sa kanilang naging pagkatalo sa Marawi subalit handa po tayo d’yan,” the Philippine Daily Inquirer quoted him as saying.

[We are expecting the recruitment of new members because they will not settle for that Marawi defeat, but we are ready.]

Arevalo also urged the public to report to the AFP any suspicious characters or movements in their area in order to foil the Maute’s recruitment drive.

“Kailangan po natin dito ang pakikilahok at tulong ng mamamayan lalo na ng nasa local na pamahalaan na nakakakita sa mga tao sa kanilang lugar, mga aktibidad na hindi karaniwan, mga bagong mukha na umiikot sa kanilang mga lugar, mangyaring magbigay kaalaman sa hukbong sandatahan upang magawa ng karampatang verification at attention,” he said.

[We need the participation and assistance of the public especially in the local government to identify people in their area who are new and suspicious; those who are new to them that they see roaming their locality, kindly alert the Armed Forces so we can do the appropriate attention.]

Inspired by the extremist Islamic State, the Maute battled government forces inside Marawi for months before being finally neutralized.

The fighting left most of the city in shambles, and resulted in the displacement of hundreds of thousands of its residents.