1,200 IS members in PH? AFP to check with Indonesia
The Philippine government on Monday said it will have to coordinate with Indonesia on a previous report that there are 1,200 operatives of the Islamic State in the Philippines.
“This needs to be subjected to inquiry on the other side (to know where) Indonesia (got the information),” Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said during a “Mindanao Hour” briefing in Malacañang.
Earlier, Indonesian defense minister Ryamizard Ryacudu said he received information that of the 1,200 IS operatives in the Philippines, 40 are from Indonesia.
Defense Undersecretary Ricardo David Jr. said the figures that the agency has is around 250 to 400 or “a lot less” than what Indonesia had.
Padilla said the government will reach out to Indonesia and inquire on the possible sources of information.
“For all we know this may prove helpful in our campaign against terrorists (and) criminals,” he said.
Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said that while Malacañang cannot comment on “specific numbers,” “it is clear that the violence in Marawi is being waged by both Philippine and international criminals.”
He said southern Mindanao “is now being used as a refuge by fugitives from justice from Indonesia, Malaysia and other locations.”
Abella said this is why regional and global anti-crime efforts should be bolstered.
Last week, the government announced that among those killed in the Marawi City clashes were eight foreign fighters who supposedly came from Malaysia, Indonesia, Yemen and Chechnya. JE/rga
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