US to launch new programme to fight extremism in Philippines

US to launch new programme to fight extremism in Philippines

A dilapidated building and car are seen in the war-torn area of Marawi City, Lanao province, Philippines, May 14, 2019. The city remains abandoned two years after pro-Islamic State militants began their attacks on May 23, 2017. (Reuters file photo)
A dilapidated building and car are seen in the war-torn area of Marawi City, Lanao province, Philippines, May 14, 2019. The city remains abandoned two years after pro-Islamic State militants began their attacks on May 23, 2017. (Reuters file photo)

MANILA: US and Philippine officials are discussing a new programme to help thwart efforts by Muslim extremists to recruit and mobilise followers after a bloody siege by jihadists aligned with the Islamic State group.

US Assistant Secretary Bureau of Conflict & Stabilization Operations Denise Natali says the three-year programme involves helping local officials identify issues that foster Muslim extremism and find ways to address them.

American and Australian surveillance aircraft helped Filipino troops quell the disastrous 2017 siege by hundreds of mostly local militants in southern Marawi city. Despite the militants' defeat, Philippine officials say surviving militants have continued efforts to recruit new followers and plot new attacks.

Natali said Tuesday that the new programme aims to combat violent extremism “so that we don't have another Marawi ever again.”

 


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