IS training wanted criminals in PH—report
The Islamic State (IS) is said to be establishing its Southeast Asian unit in the Philippines to augment its forces in the Middle East, Reuters has reported.
According to the report, the IS picked several most wanted criminals and insurgents in the Philippines to head the regional faction.
The Philippine military intelligence, however, is verifying the video recently circulating online showing young males wearing military fatigues and bearing arms training while holding IS flags as part of their operation in Southeast Asia.
A portion of the video also showed a firefight set in the mountains but it is not clear where the video was taken.
A Malaysian militant identified as Mohd Rafu Udin told the men that if they won’t be sent to Syria, they will be assigned to join IS forces in the Philippines.
In an earlier report by the Inquirer, Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon is said to be the overall leader of IS in the Philippines. A man in the video speaking in Filipino encouraged fellow fighters to follow Hapilon and be cautious with incoming President Rodrigo Duterte’s “deceitful tactics.”
The Philippine military dismissed the video as propaganda and discouraged the public from further spreading it.
According to Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay, chief of Malaysia’s police counter-terrorism unit, however, the video should not be treated as propaganda but a serious threat in Southeast Asia. Christian Venus/IDL/rga
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