US officially tags Maute a terrorist group

THE United States has officially branded the Maute Group as a foreign terrorist organization, a move that Malacañang described as a "positive development" on Wednesday, February 28.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. said the Maute Group's inclusion in the roster of US foreign terrorist organizations demonstrates global efforts to curb lawless acts perpetrated by extremist groups.

“The official designation of the Maute Group as an affiliate group of ISIS and its inclusion in the US list of foreign terrorist organizations are positive developments in the campaign against terrorism,” Roque said in a statement.

“Terrorism, indeed, knows no borders and the inclusion of the Maute Group in the list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists and Foreign Terrorist Organizations as an affiliate group of ISIS shows the solidarity and resolve of the international community to flush out evil forces to make the world safe and secure,” he added.

The US State Department announced Tuesday, February 27, that that Maute Group has been designated as a terrorist entity along with other groups affiliated with global terror group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

With the designation, the Maute terror group is now considered by the US as a group that “pose(s) a significant risk of committing acts of terrorism.”

The Maute Group was responsible for the deadly siege in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur from May 23 to October 23, 2017.

The armed conflict, which had prompted the declaration of martial law in the entire Mindanao, ended when government forces killed Isnilon Hapilon, alleged ISIS emir in Southeast Asia, and Maute leader Omar Maute on October 16, 2017. Rehabilitation of the war-ravaged city is ongoing.

Roque said the Maute Group's new label as a foreign terror organization merely proves the Duterte government's determination to quell insurgency in the country.

“This reaffirms our long-held belief that the Maute Group is composed of local terrorists aided by foreign extremists,” the presidential spokesman said.

“This likewise recognizes the decisive action we have taken in liberating Marawi from these terrorists, which resulted in the success of the government in thwarting the establishment of an Islamic caliphate in the area and the containing of the rebellion from spreading to other parts of the Philippines,” he added. (SunStar Philippines)
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