4 Islamic State-linked suspects captured in South Cotabato raid
KORONADAL CITY, SOUTH COTABATO — Government security forces captured four suspected Islamic State militants in Polomolok town in South Cotabato amid reports of the growing presence of militants in Mindanao.
Senior Inspector Ludovico Rendaje Jr., Polomolok town police chief of operation, said Thursday Mohamed Lompong, 28; Dats Kalangke, 27; Monib Sagadan, 40; and Adin Dala, 25, were arrested in the raid they conducted in Barangay Sumbakil shortly after 3 p.m. on Wednesday.
“They tried to escape by running away but they were cordoned by our police,” Rendaje said.
Authorities recovered from the suspects two hand grenades, one .22 magnum revolver pistol, assorted ammunition, three camouflage uniforms, mobile phones, and identification cards.
Earlier this week, lawmen also arrested three members of a terrorist group the military claimed to have links with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) during law enforcement operations in Tupi, South Cotabato, where they recovered two black ISIS flags, ammonium nitrate, blasting caps and other improvised bomb components, bullets for M16 rifles, a fragmentation grenade, three rifle grenades, and two motorbikes.
The US Department of State, in their recent assessment of the activities of terrorists, cited the Philippines as among the five countries in the world with the most number of terrorist attacks.
The Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies also said there were more ISIS fighters in Southeast Asia, particularly in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao than in Afghanistan and Iraq during the height of wars led by the United States there.
Greg Poling, Asia analyst of the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, said in his 340-page assessment released this month, that Mindanao was still an ungoverned region, citing last year’s five-month siege in Marawi City that left more than a thousand people dead, which the military said were mostly militants, though the figures had not yet been independently verified.
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