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  World   Asia  04 Jan 2017  Philippines' President Duterte says his cousins might be with ISIS

Philippines' President Duterte says his cousins might be with ISIS

Published : Jan 4, 2017, 10:38 am IST
Updated : Jan 4, 2017, 10:38 am IST

Strap: Duterte said his cousins had earlier been members of Islamist groups such as Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. (Photo: File)
 Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. (Photo: File)

Manila: President Rodrigo Duterte of Philippines, widely known for his strict drug laws and scathing tongue, said some of his family members might have joined the terrorist organization, Islamic State

Speaking to the news site Rappler, President Duterte said, "ISIS seems to be everywhere."

His cousins were earlier members of local Islamist groups Moro Islamic Liberation Front [MI] and the Moro National Liberation Front [MN], he said, adding that they could have possibly joined the Islamic State.

“To be frank, I have cousins on the other side, with MI and MN. Some, I heard, are with ISIS.”

Drawing attention to the two recent attacks that shook Philippines - one at the night market at Davao killing 14, wounding 70 and a blast outside a church in the Cotabato region on Christmas Eve that wounded around 13 - he said, could have been the doing of the IS.

He told Rappler, even though he had discussed the issue with other heads of states, he was "not ready" to make the information public.

Abu Sayyaf, a group with ISIS affiliation had earlier claimed responsibility for the Davao attack, even though at the time, Duterte had expected the involvement of drug cartels. Abu Sayyaf is based out of the southwest region of Philippines where Moro Islamist groups have led insurgencies for decades.

President Duterte was elected in June 2016, following which he led a violent war on drugs which has left approximately 6000 people dead across the country pending proper trial. The executions were mostly conducted by the police or vigilantes.

When asked what would happen if he met his cousins who were alleged to be with the Islamic State, he said, "Let's be understanding to each other. You are you and I am I, and I said, if we meet in one corner, so be it."

Tags: rodrigo duterte, war on drugs, islamic state, moro islamic liberation front
Location: Philippines, National Capital Reg, Manila