MANILA: There is a large risk of further radicalization in the southern Philippines if there is unhappiness with the reconstruction of bombed-out Marawi city, where the government has declared victory over Islamic State group-aligned militants who laid siege to the city, a terrorism expert said yesterday.
Sidney Jones, director of the Jakarta-based Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict, also warned that children and younger siblings of slain militants may emerge as a new generation of fighters. She told journalists in Manila that reconstruction of the city is key, and that a new militant movement with a more Islamist stance could develop and challenge the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, an older rebel group that has signed a peace deal with the government.
The military ended its offensive in Marawi on Oct 23 after quelling the insurrection and sending a few remaining gunmen into hiding. More than 900 militants, 165 troops and policemen and 47 civilians were killed in the five months of fighting.