The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is coordinating with the Muslim community in Metro Manila for the arrest of members of the Maute Group who are said to have taken refuge with relatives in the metropolis.
“Our thrust is to touch base with the Muslim community to alienate the Maute members… We are exerting efforts to ensure the safety of Metro Manila,” a senior military official said on condition of anonymity.
The source also said that the initial coordination has been made with Muslim religious leaders and businessmen.
“The objective is to prevent violent extremism in NCR (National Capital Region),” the source said.
Last March 03, 2018, the security forces arrested Maute sub-leader Abdul Nasser Lomondot in Manila. Lomondot took part in the five-month Marawi City siege but managed to slip out of the military cordon in the city.
According to the officials, Lomondot arrived Metro Manila sometime last month, mainly to hide from security forces who are pursuing remnants of the terrorist group involved in the bloody siege of Marawi.
“There is a big possibility but we cannot give you the details,” the source said when asked if there are other Maute members currently in Metro Manila. “We cannot dismiss that possibility… They, migrating to Metro Manila, is a big possibility,” the source added
However, the source said that they have not received any information about an imminent attack in Metro Manila but said the military establishment is reading to respond to any terrorist activity.
“Metro Manila is stable but our troops are ready for any eventuality. What’s important is ready to render immediate response,” the source said.