Small Wars Journal

Philippines Says Foreign Fighters Have Joined IS-Linked Militant Group

Philippines Says Foreign Fighters Have Joined IS-Linked Militant Group by Jake Maxwell Watts, Wall Street Journal

Foreign fighters have joined an Islamic State-linked militant group occupying a southern Philippine city and are seeking to turn the island of Mindanao into a caliphate, a government official said, calling the development an invasion.

While foreign fighters have long been suspected of joining militant groups in lawless parts of Mindanao, the government’s announcement escalates a fragile situation in a region where troops are engaged in heavy fighting with militants.

Mr. Calida’s characterization of the conflict bolsters supporters of President Rodrigo Duterte, who on Tuesday declared martial law for the entirety of Mindanao—home to 22 million people—but his comments will likely to be met with skepticism by opponents who say the government’s decision was draconian…

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