ISIS Philippines still recruiting child warriors from Sabah and Marawi

child recruits on training ground / photo from Rappler (ctto)

In an investigative report of Manila Times, it was revealed that terrorist groups still recruit forces for war against the government.

Manila Times was able to interview sources, detailing the systematic recruitment of vulnerable youth and adult residents, which is still happening even after the government won the war against the Maute group last year.

“Children from indigent families in Mindanao were sold by their own parents to at least one of the Daesh-linked imams from Marawi,” according to an intelligence military officer.

A mourning mother in Marawi city, recounted how she and her husband were approached by a local Daesh-linked priest prior the siege.

She said that almost two years ago, they were given P150,000 in exchange for their 11-year old son to become a child soldier.

She said that the recent death of their son in the Marawi siege was still haunting her and her family.

Another source from Sabah, Malaysia disclosed that there were more than 400, 000 statesless children with Filipino descent, who have either undocumented parents working in the low-paying informal sectors.

These stateless persons are said to be ideal terrorist recruits since they have no public records; no birth certificates, no passport, and not even real identification cards.

And after the war in the city of Marawi, locals became more willing to share their opinions and information the know.

“According to local Meranao and Muslim sources—Daesh sympathizers and opponents alike—Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute never intended to attack Marawi City.” The article states.

“…the real plan was to establish an IS base in the predominantly Muslim city of Marawi; the ultimate goal was to first attack and take over Iligan City, Cagayan de Oro City and Davao City, home city of no less than President Rodrigo Duterte.” It added.

The locals of Marawi knew about the presence of Daesh-Maute or ISIS Philippines since 2015, yet nearly everyone kept silent about it out of fear.

An intelligence official also confirms the presence of the terrorists in the country, saying it started as early as 2013, however, the previous administration consistently denied the reports.

Source: Manila Times

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