ISIS-inspired rebels threaten civilian targets
MAGUINDANAO – ISISinspired rebels have warned of more attacks on civilian targets, particularly Christian areas in the Philippines, as security forces continue its offensives on insurgent and radical groups in the restive southern region of Mindanao.
Masked gunmen released a video recently on Facebook threatening attacks on innocent civilians and to pursue an Islamic caliphate in Mindanao. The video came out following bombing and suicide attacks by ISIS on various civilian targets in Paris, France and in Beirut just this month.
The threats also coincided with the AsiaPacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Manila attended by world leaders.
The gunmen, with the ISIS flags behind them, spoke lengthily in fluent Tagalog, mimicking ISIS style threats made against the United States, Britain and France.
But the military said local insurgents were riding on the notoriety of ISIS also known as Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant or ISIL. The Abu Sayyaf has pledged allegiance to ISIS and so is the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, whose members were mostly former rebels from the larger Moro Islamic Liberation Front which signed a peace deal with Manila in 2014.
Late last year, some 100 local Muslims in Marawi City have pledged allegiance or bai’ah to the ISIS following trends from radical jihadist groups in the Philippines. Those who pledged their allegiance took their mass oath-taking in a surprise announcement inside the Masjid Islamic Center there.
An elderly Muslim cleric who was a former senior member of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front; and members of the Khilafah Islamiyah Mindanao- Black Flag Movement allegedly organized the mass oath- taking.
Dozens of Muslim detainees in Taguig City just outside Manila also pledged their allegiance to ISIS and was believed organized by Ahmad Santos, the jailed leader of the radical Muslim- converts group Rajah Solaiman Movement or RSM.
The Khilafah Islamiyah Movement which is being linked by police and military with the Abu Sayyaf and the BIFF, and the Al- Khobar group and RSM, was the first local jihadist vowed support to the ISIS. (MindanaoExaminer)
Young Muslims in Marawi City in the southern Philippine province of Lanao del Sur pledge their allegiance to IS in Iraq and Syria in these photos sent to the regional newspaper Mindanao Examiner.