A cousin of President Rodrigo Duterte was killed fighting with Islamic State-inspired militants in Marawi, the Philippine leader said Tuesday, vowing to drive the gunmen out of the southern city they seized more than a month ago.
Addressing an Eid al-Fitr dinner at the presidential palace – his first public appearance in a week – Duterte vowed to crush fighters from the Maute gang of militants and Abu Sayyaf group who turned the lakeside city of 200,000 into a battlefield.
“If they went to a forested area there, claimed a particular mountain, three mountains, and took the fight there, I could have forgiven them. But because of what they did, this Maute and ISIS, there will be no quarters given and no quarters asked,” Duterte said, using another acronym for the so-called Islamic State (IS).
“I derive no satisfaction even in winning the war. I just wanted this thing over, and those – these radicals, extremists – out of the Muslim world here,” he said, apologizing for damage sustained to the city during efforts to dislodge the militants.
The tough-talking 72-year-old native of the southern city of Davao underlined a personal connection to the conflict, which has killed 290 gunmen, 70 soldiers and 27 civilians, according to the latest government figures.
“I have cousins who joined the Mautes, in case you didn’t know. Because they were there, a cousin of mine died. They went there, in a truck,” Duterte said without elaborating about when the incident took place.
Full story: BenarNews
Felipe Villamor and Jeoffrey Maitem
Manila and Marawi, Philippines. Froilan Gallardo in Iligan City contributed to this report.
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