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Duterte to Maute group: Do not force my hand into war

President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday warned the Maute local terrorist group not to force him to declare war.

“Dito sa Maute, I said I do not want to declare war against Filipinos, but I told them that they have to stop. Sana huwag na lang tayo umabot ng giyera. So I am doing everything to prevent war,” he said in an interview with reporters at Camp Evangelista Station Hospital in Cagayan de Oro City.

“Sinabi ko una wala akong – hindi ko naman sila tinatakot – sabi ko lang na ayaw ko. Ayaw ko makipag-giyera, but do not force my hand into it,” Duterte added.

Duterte just came from a command briefing in Lanao del Sur about the military's offensive against the Maute group which seized the Butig town a few days ago.

"They have to go on with the operations. What is there to stop? Wala naman nagpapakita ng sincerity diyan so the fight goes on," the President said of the briefing. —ALG, GMA News