DEFENSE Secretary Delfin Lorenzana set a 3 to 6-month deadline for troops to wipe out extremists in Sulu.
Lorenzana’s deadline stemmed from reports on the presence of foreign terrorists in the province who have linked up with the Abu Sayyaf and other local terrorist groups in Mindanao.
“We are really monitoring them [in Jolo, Sulu]. We are bringing in more troops for the operation,” Lorenzana said in an interview with “The Source” on CNN Philippines aired on Monday.
“We are giving [the troops] three months to six months or the rest of the year,” he said.
Quoting security experts, Lorenzana said the foreign terrorists, who came from Syria, were composed of Indonesians, Australians, Malaysians, Singaporeans and Egyptians.
This was not the first deadline imposed by the government against terrorists.
During the attack in Marawi City by the IS-inspired Maute group in 2017, President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao to flush out the terrorists.
Congress granted Duerte’s request for an extension of martial law in the region, twice, including one that is scheduled to expire this December.
Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, who assumed the position of chief of the Western Mindanao Command (WesMinCom), has said the military was eyeing to clear Mindanao of remaining terrorists within the year. DEMPSEY REYES