Military Historian Jose Custodio Warns the Government: Watch Sulu, Central Mindanao too

Military historian Jose Custodio warns that the AFP must stay vigilant for possible coordinated attacks the Maute Group might have with Abu Sayyaf and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters.

Coordinated attacks in Marawi City is possible.

According to Military Historian Jose Custodio, AFP should be cautious that the Maute Group will have a collaboration with Abu sayyaf  in the Sulu Archipelago and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters in Central Mindanao.

The class between the Maute Group and the Armed Forced of the Philippines (AFP) on Tuesday afternoon in Marawi cost atleast three military and police life, while hundreds of residents make their way out of the city for sanctuary

The turn of events prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to declare martial law in Mindanao and cut short his visit to Russia.

"The government has to devote resources to Marawi to defend and protect it”, Custodio said

"You have to have physical presence there so people will not feel threatened anymore. But the problem is the assets that you're going to put there, you will strip from other areas," said Custodio. "If that happens, then whoever is there… they'll start making problems also."

Custodio observed that these groups tended to "interact, coordinate and link up" with each other.

Experts noted the Maute Group is trying to get the attention and recognition of ISIS.

Custodio noted the military calling the attack a diversionary tactic was "very telling" because it "means that the other side can sense what are the weaknesses on the government's side."

The New People's Army (NPA), the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), which has also been known to operate across the Philippines are also advised to be watched.

"Martial law for them is a step closer to what they feel is the beginnings of a possible repressive state," Custodio said. "If you go back to history, martial law for the NPA was their greatest recruiter."

"It has to move quick, at the same time it has to move in a rational manner," said Custodio. "It has to be vigilant against other groups that will take advantage of this."

More military presence on the ground could be expected following the declaration, he added.

"There will be punitive operations conducted against suspected personalities, and because this is done under the ambit of martial law, they have to be very careful," said Custodio. "If you move out constitutional guarantees, then the possibility of abuse exists."

Source: CNN Philippines