The Australian government sent two military surveillances planes to the Philippines to help in its fight against terrorist Maute group holed up in Marawi City in Mindanao.
It has been more than a month since the group took over the city and the more than 240,000 residents had been displaced with some still held within the city.
“We welcome any technical assistance that our allies can provide while the Armed Forces of the Philippines is in the process of developing such capabilities,” Philippine Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said.
The Royal Australian Air Force sent two Two AP-3C Orion aircraft to help the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
In a statement by Australian Defense Minister Marise Payne, she says,
“The regional threat from terrorism, in particular from Daesh and foreign fighters, is a direct threat to Australia and our interests,” referring to Islamic State by an Arabic acronym.
Meanwhile, Philippine Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said that the Philippine government welcomes any form of foreign assistance in its fight against the Maute group.
The Philippine Military has confirmed the support given by the United States on the ground by its military troops, but is limited only to intelligence sharing.
Martial Law is still in effect in Mindanao after Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte declared it on 23 May.
Australia condemned the attacks by Daesh-inspired groups in Marawi City.
Payne said she and Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana have agreed “the best way to defeat terrorism in our region is for us to work together.”
As of this posting, the death toll in ongoing fighting is placed at 421 militants, 99 soldiers and police officers and 45 civilians.
The Philippines and Australia have an extensive Defense Cooperation Program that provides the mechanisms for military support, intelligence sharing, and people to people exchanges.
“In the fight against global terror, we need to act as a community of nations. Any help and support we can get from our friends and allies will always be welcome,” Lorenzana said.
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