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Philippines, USA Joint Together to Fight Muslim Extremism after Bloody Siege by Jihadists

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MANILA – U.S. Assistant Secretary Bureau of Conflict & Stabilization Operations and Philippine officials are discussing a new program to help thwart efforts by Muslim extremists to recruit and mobilize followers after a bloody siege by jihadists aligned with the Islamic State group.

Assistant Secretary Denise Natali says the three-year program involves helping local officials identify issues that foster Muslim extremism and find ways to address them.

American and Australian surveillance aircraft helped Filipino troops quell the disastrous 2017 siege by hundreds of mostly local militants in southern Marawi city. Despite the militants’ defeat, Philippine officials say surviving militants have continued efforts to recruit new followers and plot new attacks.

Natali said Tuesday that the new program aims to combat violent extremism “so that we don’t have another Marawi ever again.”