- Category: Pacific/Regional News
11 Jan 2017
MANILA (The Philippine Star) — Up to 10 foreigners are training with local terrorist groups before joining the Islamic State extremists in Syria, Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa said on Monday.
“I think there are about five to 10 foreigners who we are monitoring. They have different nationalities,” Dela Rosa said in a news briefing.
The number does not include Abu Naila, a Sudanese suspected to have had links to the Ansar Al-Khilafa or AKP Philippines. He and a female companion were killed in a raid Saturday in Maasim, Sarangani province on the southern island of Mindanao.
Police data indicated that Naila was training in the Philippines before his deployment to Syria to join IS extremists.
Aside from AKP, the police are also monitoring the Abu Sayyaf, Maute group and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the Armed Forces of the Philippines will focus its efforts on neutralizing these groups in the next six months in a bid to stop piracy, kidnappings and bombings in Mindanao.
Also on Monday, President Rodrigo Duterte warned his officials anew of the threats from IS and other armed groups who are outdoing each other in terms of brutality to earn recognition from the international terror group.
“The problem is ISIS is there and we have been debating for so long. But we are now of the opinion in the cabinet that the ISIS ideology is here to stay,” the president said.
“Some of them, they are competing for recognition.... They are outdoing each other in brutality. The more brutal you are in raising the ideology, the more credentials that you may have for recognition,” he added.
Duterte said officials should remain vigilant about the challenges posed by terrorism.
“Be aware that you know things might overrun or events might overrun us. The rising nationalism in some parts of the country for some people (is not there anymore). It has been overtaken by this ideology of violence and brutality — ISIS,” the President said, referring to the terror group by its other acronym.
He added that the terrorism problem is related to the drug menace, with some armed groups being fueled by the narcotics trade.
“Why is shabu prevalent in Mindanao? They are driving the war using shabu,” he said, referring to methamphetamine.
Lorenzana said the Department of National Defense will introduce changes in the military, including the assignment of new officers who may have a fresh approach to solving the problem.