Australian authorities said separately that the IS-linked terrorists responsible for the siege of Marawi City last year may be regrouping to strike again elsewhere, according to The Manila Times Online report on Monday (Feb 26).
In a recent interview with The Manila Times in Manila, Australian ambassador to the Philippines Amanda Gorely intelligence obtained showed the terrorists were regrouping.
Gorely’s statement was corroborated by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front chairman who said last week that ISIS sympathizers were awash in arms and cash and were not done fighting. He said further that another Marawi could not be ruled out.
Gorely noted that several terrorists got out of Marawi before the end of the siege and might be making plans to strike again.
The ambassador admitted what worried Australia most was the return of Asians as well as Australians to their home countries after their fight for the IS in Syria and Iraq.
Referring to Marawi, an Australian counter-terrorism spokesman told a group of visiting Asean journalists in Canberra the effect of IS brought together some groups that, perhaps, no one thought would ever want to work together and they had done something that had not been done in Southeast Asia before where terrorists took over an urban centre and held it for five months.
Counter-terrorism cooperation will be one key issue on the agenda to be discussed at the Asean-Australia summit in Sydney next month.