VIENTIANE, Laos—President Rodrigo Duterte has vowed to tear apart and eat Abu Sayyaf Islamic militants, in a bloodthirsty vow of revenge for their deadly attacks.
“They will pay. When the time comes, I will eat you in front of people,” Duterte told an audience of Filipinos on Monday night while in Laos for a regional summit.
“If you make me mad, in all honesty, I will eat you alive, raw.”
Duterte often hurls abusive insults at critics and is waging a brutal war on crime in which more than 2,000 people have been killed since he took office on June 30.
His aides often urge reporters against taking Duterte’s comments literally, saying that the 71-year-old former lawyer speaks in a crude language of the people.
During the election campaign earlier this year, Duterte attracted widespread criticism for saying he had wanted to rape a “beautiful” Australian missionary who had been sexually assaulted and murdered in a prison riot in his home city of Davao.
Duterte, 71, also claimed to keep two mistresses in cheap boarding houses who he took to short-stay hotels for sexual encounters.
Duterte on Monday offered a particularly vivid description of how he would like to eat Abu Sayyaf militants, who killed 15 soldiers last month and are accused of a bombing in his home city last week that claimed 14 lives.
“I will really carve your torso open. Give me vinegar and salt and I will eat you. I’m not kidding,” Duterte said, according to an official video of his speech posted on Tuesday.
“These guys are beyond redemption.”
The Abu Sayyaf, a small band of Islamic bandits based, is listed by the United States as a terrorist organization.
They are notorious for kidnapping foreigners to extract ransoms, and this year beheaded two Canadian hostages.
In the hinterlands of Patikul, Sulu, fighting flared up again between government troops and the Abu Sayyaf bandits.
The encounter erupted after members of the Army’s Infantry Battalion clashed with about 20 heavily armed bandits along Sitio Kan Kapia, Barangay Danag, Patikul town, four days after last week’s bloody firefight that claimed the lives of 30 terrorists and 15 soldiers.
Maj. Filemon Tan Jr., spokesman of the Western Mindanao Command, said the fighting occurred at about 8:20 a.m. leaving an undetermined number of ASG casualties while government troops suffered no deaths.
He said that the fighting lasted for a few hours until the ASG fighters withdrew under a heavy barrage of fire from the soldiers.
Ground artillery forces have launched a series of attacks to flush out ASG bandits from their bunkers on the outskirts of Patikul.
“The 45th IB also established defensive position while all adjacent units launched pursuit and blocking operations at their respective sectors,” said Tan.
Three Army battalions consisting troops from 43rd IB from Southern Luzon and contingents from Army’s 8th Infantry Division were moved into the Patikul jungle lairs of the ASG to neutralize the terrorist group.
Tan said the military will not stop its operations against the ASG until they are decimated.
The fighting at Sitio Kan Kapia was the first confrontation since the deadly clash in Barangay Maligay also in Patikul that left 15 soldiers, including a junior officer, dead.
The clash also left four bandits, including two sub-leaders, dead.
The military claimed to have killed 30 ASG bandits since Aug. 24 shortly after President Duterte ordered security forces to neutralize the terrorists after they beheaded an 18-year-old Filipino hostage, Patrick Almodovar.
The ASG is still holding more than 20 hostages, most of them foreign tourists from Indonesia and Malaysia. It also holds Dutch Elwold Horn and Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad.
The fate of the hostages is uncertain as the military launches relentless attacks on the ASG.
Army chief Lt. Gen. Uduardo Ano said Tuesday there seems to be a tactical alliance between three self-proclaimed Islamic State affiliates, namely, the Abu Sayyaf Group, Maute Group and Ansar al-Khilafah Philippines (AKP), in the attack on the Davao City night market.
Ano disclosed this information even as the Department of Justice formed a three-man task force to conduct a fact-finding into the Sept. 2 explosion.
Ano said the three groups seemed to have a “working relationship.”
The Army chief also insisted there were no foreign terrorists helping the local groups here.
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