Duterte to Maute group: Don't force my hand into war
MANILA, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) – After meeting with government troops fighting the Maute terrorist group, President Rodrigo Duterte warned the group not to force him to declare war against them.
"Ayaw ko makipag-giyera (I do not want war) but do not force my hand into it," said Duterte on Wednesday, November 30, during a chance interview with reporters.
He was at a Camp Evangelista in Cagayan De Oro City to visit members of his advance party who were wounded by an improvised explosive device on Tuesday in Marawi.
"Dito sa Maute (With the Maute), I said I don't want to wage a war against Filipinos but I told them that they have to stop. Sana hindi tayo umabot sa giyera (I hope we do not come to the point of war). I am doing everything to prevent a war," he said.
Asked what he discussed with the troops fighting the Maute group in Lanao, he said, "They have to go on with the operations."
The President said it seems the Maute group is not interested in talking about peace with the government.
"Wala naman nagpapakita ng sincerity diyan (No one is showing sincerity there) so the fight goes on," he said.
The day before, he said he might "make friends" with the group so as to end the violence in the area.
But during a second chance interview with reporters in Cagayan de Oro City,, Duterte said he is not yet ready to talk to the group.
Earlier on Thursday, Duterte spoke with the military in the Army tactical command post in Lumbanayague town, Lanao del Sur where government forces launched an intense military offensive against the Maute terror group in Butig town.
On Monday, November 28, Duterte confirmed links between ISIS and Maute, saying the groups are "vitally connected." – Rappler.com