Four ISIS supporters operrated in Mindanao, Morocco
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A senior military officer on Saturday reported the arrest in Lanao del Sur province in restive Mindanao of four members of a terror group that has pledged allegiance to the Daesh group.
Major General Carlito Galvez, the head of the military’s Western Mindanao Command, said the four suspects were linked to a series of criminal activities like kidnap-for-ransom, robbery and murder including the killing of Superintendent Abner Wahab Santos, the chief the Marawi City police, in 2016.
He also disclosed security forces seized from the suspects high powered weapons as well as improvised bombs and materials for their manufacture.
Galvez identified one of the arrested suspects as Alisata Tumao Maute but he did not say what the suspect’s relationship was with Omar Maute, the founder of the group bearing his name that has pledged allegiance to the Daesh group.
Galvez credited the arrest to efficient intelligence gathering as well as the cooperation of local officials and concerned residents over the presence of terrorists and other criminal elements in their areas.
“We commend this military-civilian partnership. Security forces can help rid the country of terrorists and criminal elements in order to bring about peaceful communities if the people would help us,” Galvez stressed.
Security experts disclosed that aside from the Maute Group, other terror groups especially the Al Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf extremists and members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) have also expressed support for the Daesh militants.
The BIFF was founded by the late Ameril Umbra Kato, a veteran field commander of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), who seceded with about 1,000 of armed followers due to major policy disputes with the front leaders over the conduct of their peace talks with the government.
Their support enabled the Daesh extremists to set up about 50 “cells” particularly in Lanao del Sur where they have been recruiting Moro youths, the military admitted.
But the military and other officials assured they were in control of the situation, adding the Daesh cells did not succeed in their recruitment of more followers because most of the residents in the affected areas still preferred peace instead of violence.
Source: /Gulf Today