Australian spy planes to assist Fillipino forces to tackle Islamist rebels
June 23, Marawi: Australia's advanced intelligence-gathering AP-3C Orion aircraft are heading to the Philippines to provide surveillance support to local forces to tackle Islamist rebels.
The Philippines accepted the offer of two AP-3C Orion aircraft for reconnaissance to pinpoint locations of Maute group fighters holed up for a fifth week in Marawi. Rebels declared Marawi town as their own Islamic territory.
The planes will operate in the Mindanao region where four Islamist groups, including Abu Sayyaf and the Maute group, are fighting.Australian Defense Minister Marise Payne said, “The regional threat from terrorism, in particular from Daesh and foreign fighters, is a direct threat to Australia and our interests Australia will continue to work with our partners in South East Asia to counter it,".
Gilbert Gapay, an Philippine military spokesman, said the surveillance planes would help tackle extremism across Mindanao, an island of 22 million people, where separatists, pirates and kidnap gangs have thrived for decades.
The Oslo Times International News Network