Over 10 IS-linked foreign terrorists, suicide bomber are in Mindanao — Año
MANILA, Philippines — An Arab-looking terrorist trained to be a suicide bomber and more than 10 other foreign terrorists linked to the Islamic State (IS) are lurking in Mindanao, a government official disclosed Thursday.
Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año said the terrorists were remnants of the 40 foreign extremists supposedly deployed to help the IS-inspired Maute Group during the Marawi City siege in 2017.
According to Año, a former Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, over half of the 40 foreign terrorists died during the five-month battle between Maute Group and government troops while others left the country.
“When we started the Marawi operation, 40 lahat ‘yan ‘yung mga foreign terrorists, and almost half of them were killed in the Marawi crisis, so ‘yung iba dun ‘yung mino-monitor natin no longer 20 ‘to. Actually, nasa 10 plus na lang kasi ‘yung iba doon umalis na ng country,” he said.
Año, however, said authorities have not monitored any planned attack despite the presence of the suicide bomber and the 10 other foreign terrorists in the country’s southern region.
“So far wala pa tayong natatanggap na meron silang target [to attack]. Ang info lang natin is this guy is a trained suicide bomber pero wala pa tayong namo-monitor na plano nila,” he said.
(So far we have not received information that they have a target to attack. The only information we have is that this guy is a trained suicide bomber but we have not monitored any of their plans.)
Año said the Arab-looking terrorist is reportedly a Yemeni while the rest are allegedly Indonesians, Malaysians, Pakistani, and Egyptians.
He said the terrorist trained to be a suicide bomber is with Abu Sayyaf leader Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan in Sulu. Sawadjaan is being tagged as mastermind of the twin blasts at a Jolo cathedral on January 27 that left 23 dead and 95 others wounded. Año earlier said Sawadjaan is the new overall leader of IS-linked groups in the country.
As for the other foreign terrorists, Año said they are scattered in Mindanao cities and provinces, including Basilan and Maguindanao. /kga
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