No IS jihadists in PH; video mere propaganda – AFP
(Updated) The Armed Forces of the Philippines has denied anew the existence of the Islamic State jihadists in the Philippines.
This was after a video circulating online showed consolidated militant groups in Mindanao with black flags claiming their links to the IS. A Rappler report said that it suggested that the IS may soon put up a satellite extension in Mindanao.
“The video may be authentic, kinuha yun ng mga tunay na tao na andun. But sa background nun, kung meron ba talaga silang pinanghahawakan sa likod, wala. You can just gather a group of people, let them wear black and say ISIS kami. That does not mean may ISIS dito,” AFP public affairs chief Colonel Noel Detoyato said on Monday.
He said the group on the video is merely riding on the popularity of the international terror group.
“Those are propaganda. We consider them as propaganda. They are not ISIS,” Detoyato said.
He said the Abu Sayyaf, Ansar al- Khalifa and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters are sympathizers of the IS in the Philippines.
Detoyato said they are keeping an eye on these groups, despite the lack of possibility that the IS will put an extension in the Philippines.
“Wala namang ISIS dito….There is a difference between ISIS-directed and ISIS-inspired,” he said.
Other videos of Philippine militants showing support for IS circulated in the past but the government has repeatedly denied the existence of the group in the Philippines.
(Editor’s note: This has been updated at 10:53 a.m. on January 12 to reflect the source of the report, an attribution which was inadvertently omitted in the original.)