Officials in the Philippines say dozens of Islamic State-aligned militants opened fire on an army detachment and burned a police car in a southern town. The militants withdrew after troops returned fire, officials also said on Friday.
The Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters attacked late Thursday in Datu Piang town. The Associated Press said there were no immediate reports of injury, but the attack panic residents and stir up unsettling recollections of a 2017 militant siege in the southern Marawi city that lasted for five months before government forces broke it.
“We are on top of the situation. This is just an isolated case,” said the regional military commander, Gen. Corleto Vinluan Jr. (pictured, above), in a statement.
The isolated case in the Philippines roughly coincided with a taped address by the President of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, to the UN General ASsembly, in which Duterte spoke of the use insurgents and terror groups are making of the Covid-19 emergency. CNN Philippines reported Duterte as saying, “The lawless weaponize this health crisis. They leave COVID-19 to wreak its worst on the population,” and as calling for a global ceasefire. That call reportedly came shortly after the armed forces of the Philippines announced they would not seek a Christmas truce with Communist rebels.
less than a week after another incident more than 12,000km (7500mi) away in Nigeria, in which militants believed to be part of either Boko Haram or the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP)killed some 110 farmers in Borno State.
Pope Francis recently prayed for victims of the attack in Borno State that left 30 of the 110 farmers beheaded.