Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (Photo: Reuters)

Hanoi (VNA) – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said on June 11 that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS), ordered the siege in Marawi city on Mindanao island.

The city have been suffering from severe damage as clashes between government troops and Islamic militants of the Maute group over the last three weeks claimed nearly 200 lives, including 20 citizens.

According to Philstar newspaper of the Philippines, speaking with reporters at Cagayan de Oro city, President Duterte said that al-Baghdadi ordered the terrorist activities in the Philippines himself.

Duterte once accused the Maute group of having links with IS, adding that the wanted terrorist Isnilon Hapilon was assigned to lead the IS group in the Philippines and plotted to form an Islamic nation in the Southeast Asian country.

The same day, Philippine senators requested relevant agencies to confiscate or freeze assets of the Maute group’s leaders and family members, in a bid to prevent flow of money which is believed to support the group’s campaign in Mindanao.

President Duterte imposed martial law on Mindanao until mid-July, as insurgents launched attacks in Marawi on May 23 after the government’s raid to seek Hapilon.

The US lists Hapilon as one of the world's most dangerous terrorists and has offered bounty of 5 million USD for his capture.

The US Special Operation Forces are assisting the Philippine military in operations in Marawi to take back the city from the militants.-VNA