Police, military in heightened alert after death of jihadist leader
GENERAL SANTOS CITY – Security forces have been placed in heightened alert in southern Philippines following the killing of senior jihadist leader whose group is blamed for deadly attacks in the restive region.
Officials said soldiers and policemen tightened security in populated areas and doubled its patrol in Mindanao for fear that jihadists would strike at civilian areas to avenge the death of Mohd Jaafar Maguid, leader of the Ansarul Khilafah, who was slain January 5. Three of his followers were also captured by security forces.
Maguid was tracked down by commandos at a beachfront in the village of Katubao in Sarangani’s Kiamba town. The 32-year old Maguid was in a car when soldiers and police commandos cornered them and eventually killed the
feared jihadist leader who had previously pledged allegiance to the Islamic State along with other rebel groups which are all fighting for the establishment of a Islamic caliphate in the restive Filipino region.
Officials did not say how security forces managed to track down Maguid or whether it got help or intelligence from the Moro Islamic Libera- tion Front which signed an interim peace deal with Manila in 2014.
His killing raised a serious security concern not only in Mindanao, but also in the Philippine capital. Interior Secretary Ismael Sueno said jihadists may launch terror attacks to avenge Maguid’s killing. He said there were intelligence reports that jihadists from the group of Abdullah Maute may strike in Manila.
The Ansarul Khilafah also released last year a video of the Islamic State’s Alhayat Media Center which shows the Philippines as among countries in Southeast Asia they were planning to expand its caliphate. It is now using the Daesh flag just as the Abu Sayyaf and the Khilafah Islamiyah Movement and other radical groups in Mindanao.
Ansarul Khilafah leader Mohammad Jaafar Sabiwang Maguid.