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BIFF, Abus pledge allegiance to Isis

/ 07:16 AM August 16, 2014

MANILA, Philippines—Hardline Muslim guerrillas in the Philippines said on Friday they have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (IS), the extremist jihadists that now control large swathes of Iraq and Syria.

Clips have been uploaded in recent weeks on the video-sharing site YouTube showing both Mindanao-based Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and the Abu Sayyaf rebels pledging support to the IS.

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“We have an alliance with the Islamic State and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi,” BIFF spokesperson Abu Misry Mama told AFP by telephone on Friday, referring to the brutal jihadist group’s leader.

Misry confirmed that a YouTube video uploaded on Wednesday, showing a purported BIFF leader flanked by armed men reading a statement of support for the IS, had come from his group.

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Radical brand of Islam

BIFF split in 2008 from the main Muslim rebel group, the 12,000-member Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), which signed a peace agreement with President Benigno Aquino III’s government last March.

BIFF, which is believed to have a few hundred fighters, has rejected the peace talks and pursued the decades-old armed campaign to establish an Islamic state in Mindanao, which was begun by the MILF.

But Abu Misry, described by the military as a BIFF spokesperson, said his group had no plans to impose the radical IS brand of Islam in the Philippines.

Beheadings, mass executions and the taking of child brides have marked the IS campaign across large parts of Iraq and Syria.

Abu Misry said his group had not sent any fighters from the Philippines to help the IS, nor was it recruiting people to join the IS.

“But if they need our help, why not?” he added. AFP

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