Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (Photo: AFP/VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on June 6 ordered the military to wipe out terror groups in the southern region.

Speaking with soldiers in Carmen town, North Cotabato province, President Duterte reiterated that he will not negotiate with militants who are preparing to form an Islamic nation on Mindanao.

That tough statement came in the context clashes between government troops and terrorists over the last nearly two weeks have left at least 178 people dead.

Violence occurred when heavily-armed militants attacked Marawi, a city of about 200,000 people, as the military was searching for a leader of Abu Sayyaf hidden in the city.

President Rodrigo Duterte quickly declared martial law in the southern region of Mindanao to quell what he said was a fast-growing threat from the Islamic State (IS) there.-VNA