AFP hunts down remnants of terrorist group
GENERAL SANTOS CITY— Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has ordered the military to hunt down the remnants of the terrorist group, Ansar Al-Khilafah Philippines, hiding in Sarangani province and other parts of Central Mindanao.
Lorenzana visited the military headquarters in Sarangani on Monday to commend troops for killing three Ansa Al-Khilafah men, including the local leader, Mohammed Jaafar Sabewang Maguid.
The defense chief said the killing of Maguid, also known as “Tokboy,” in Kiamba town on Jan. 5 and the deaths of Pakistani national Abu Naila and his Filipino wife, Kadija, on Jan. 7 in Maasim town represent a major victory in the fight against terrorism and a big blow for Ansar Al-Khilafah.
“We will continue the operation against them as well as against members of the Maute group in Lanao del Sur,” Lorenzana said.
It was not clear how many Ansar Al-Khilafah men remained.
But Supt. Romeo Galgo Jr., spokesperson for the Central Mindanao Police Office, told the Inquirer that the authorities were monitoring the movements of three more members of the group in Sarangani.
“No more foreigners this time. They are all Filipinos,” Galgo said.
Senior Supt. Joseph Semillano, the Sarangani police chief, said Naila arrived in Maasim in August last year to train Ansar Al-Khilafah members in bomb-making.
Naila and his wife tried to travel to Sulu province on
Jan. 7, but aborted their plan when they noticed that the government had increased naval security, Semillano said.
The two were killed by government forces on the same day.
Maguid’s group was blamed for the 2015 grenade attack in Maasim that killed a police officer and wounded dozens of civilians.
On Aug. 20 last year, three of his men were killed when government forces swooped down on his lair in Barangay Daliao in Maasim.
In a subsequent raid on the house of Kupang Sahak, another follower of Maguid, government forces found black Islamic State group flags and bomb-making materials.