Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte has revealed that his cousins may have joined terrorist groups linked to ISIS and has vowed to take action if he ever met them face-to-face.
The president, famous for his blunt remarks and tough stance on drugs, made the comments in an interview on Wednesday with Philippine based citizen journalism website Rappler.
Duterte said: “To be frank, I have cousins on the other side, with MI and MN. Some, I heard, are with ISIS.”
He was making reference to local groups affiliated to the extremist organisation, such as the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and Moro National Liberation Front.
The president vowed to take action should he cross paths with those cousins, but fell short of specifying what their fate would be.
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While Duterte has not specified what action he would take, he has previously confessed to shooting suspected drug dealers, as well as throwing a murder and rape suspect out of a helicopter while he was mayor of Davao.
“If you are corrupt, I will fetch you using a helicopter to Manila and I will throw you out,” he said in a televised speech in December.
In a separate incident, more than 150 prisoners escaped Tuesday late night from a southern prison there, after gunmen suspected of having Islamist ties launched a gun attack.
The prison break occurred at the North Cotabato District Jail near Kidapawan, off the island of Mindanao.
The country has seen a spate of terrorist attacks in recent months.
In December, at least 33 people were injured in two separate bomb attacks in Mindanao and Leyte, within less than an hour of each other.
In September, a bomb attack in a night market in Davao claimed the lives of fourteen shoppers, injuring many more.
Furthermore, several were injured recently in a bomb attack on Christmas Eve.