DAMASCUS, SYRIA (0:10 P.M.) – Another jihadist group based on the predominately Muslim Mindanao island has joined the insurgency against the Philippine Army after capturing a long-contested military installation at the town of Datu Salibo.
According to an official police report, the ISIS-linked ‘Jamaatu Al-Muhajireen Wal Ansar’ retook their training camp in the aforementioned town on August 29.
The group is notably considered a close ally of Maute and Abu Sayyaf, two ISIS factions which have been leading a jihadist uprising in the nearby city of Marawi since May 23. This in turn prompted Duterte’s declaration of martial law in the Mindanao region.
In the same time, the Philippine Army and its newly established ally, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), are making steady progress inside Marawi city itself.
On Friday morning, pro-government forces officially recaptured the Bayabao bridge, one of three bridges leading to the city centre of Marawi.
According to government officials, three Philippine Marines were killed-in-action and 52 wounded during the battle for the bridge.
On the other hand, Amaq Agency (main ISIS media branch) claimed that some 50 Philipines troops were killed during clashes at Marinot, Bangalo, Raya Madia, Osmania street and the Bayabao bridge on Saturday.
Meanwhile, a MILF commander said that their fighters were preparing to launch a renewed assault on the newly captured ISIS camp in Datu Salibo town. He added that skirmishes began on August 26, resulting in the death of 12 MILF troops and 20 ISIS members since then.
Not long ago, ISIS released its first lengthy propaganda video covering the battle for Marawi in which the self-proclaimed caliphate claimed 335 Philippine soldiers had been killed since the jihadist rebellion began over three months ago.