About 50 foreign terrorists now operating in Mindanao – military official
Close to 50 foreign terrorists are currently operating in Mindanao.
This was the revelation of Maj. Gen. Fernando Trinidad, Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), who made a presentation at the Supreme Court to justify the declaration of extended martial law in Mindanao.
According to Trinidad, some 48 foreign terrorists are actively participating in the training of new terrorist-recruits in the region.
Oral arguments on the petition questioning the legality of an extended martial law in Mindanao are being conducted at the high tribunal, which required attendance of the proponents of the decree.
In November 2017, Trinidad said that 15 terrorists from Indonesia and Malaysia entered Mindanao to assist Daesh or Islamic State-inspired group in Saranggani while 16 Indonesian terrorists also entered the region to provide assistance and training to Abu Sayyaf Group in Basilan, and Maute Group in Lanao del Sur.
This month, Trinidad claimed, an Egyptian national was also monitored to have entered southern Philippines.
Trinidad said that while the fighting has reduced the membership of the local terror groups, the remaining members intensified their recruitment, which increased yet again their associates to almost 400 – “almost the same strength that initially turned (up in) Marawi.”
Trinidad said the recruits are undergoing training on marksmanship, urban attacks, and use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
With the death of Isnilon Hapilon and Maute brothers, Trinidad said new leaders have emerged, including a founder of Khalifa Islamiya, an Indonesia-based Filipino terrorist, and another Filipino terrorist who came from Syria, who was even featured in a video entitled “Solid Edifice” where he was shown to have beheaded an Arab national.
“The magnitude as well as the presence of rebel groups endangers the public safety,” Trinidad told justices as he appealed for the high court to validate the declaration of an extended martial law in Mindanao. /kga