Inaccuracies seen in SolGen Calida's ISIS cells list

Solicitor General Jose Calida announces the state of Martial Law and the suspension of the privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus in Mindanao should not be a cause for alarm to all law-abiding citizens. He also confirmed that foreign jihadists are now trying to establish a caliphate in Mindanao. Calida made the announcement on May 26 during a press briefing at the Royal Mandaya Hotel in Davao City. Presidential Photo

Inaccuracies seen in SolGen Calida's ISIS cells list

Patricia Lourdes Viray (Philstar.com) - June 20, 2017 - 3:48am

MANILA, Philippines — Several inaccuracies can be seen in the list of ISIS cell groups operating in the Philippines that Solicitor General Jose Calida released last Monday, an international security analyst said.

Rommel Banlaoi, chairman of the Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence and Terrorism Research, said that the groups listed as ISIS sleeper cells are active groups.

Sleeper cells are defined as underground groups of terrorists waiting to stage attacks in locations around the world.

"When we talk about sleeper cells, they are not active. They are dormant clandestine groups but have not been activated but those groups listed by Solitor General Calida are active groups already," Banlaoi said in a telephone interview with ANC Tuesday morning.

Calida recently a list of 20 ISIS sleeper groups operating in the country. It is not clear, however, why it was the solicitor general and not the Department of Defense that released the list.

  • Ansar Dawiah Filibbin
  • Rajah Solaiman Islamic Movement
  • Al Harakatul Islamiyah Battalion
  • Jama'at Ansar Khilafa
  • Ansharul Khilafah Philippines Battalion
  • Bangsamoro Justice Movement
  • Khilafah Islamiyah Mindanao
  • Abu Sayyaf Group (Sulu faction)
  • Syuful Khilafa Fi Luzon
  • Ma'Rakah Al-Ansar Battalion
  • Dawla Islamiyyah Cotabato
  • Dawlat Al Islamiyah Waliyatul Masrik
  • Ansar Al-Shariyah Battalion
  • Jamaah Al-Tawhid Wal Jihad Philippines
  • Abu Dujanah Battalion
  • Abu Khubayn Battalion
  • Jundallah Battalion
  • Abu Sadr Battalion
  • Jamaah Al Muhajirin Wal Anshor
  • Balik-Islam Group

Banlaoi noted the inaccuracies in the listing of the groups. He said that he was appalled upon seeing Balik-Islam Group, a group of Muslim converts in the Philippines, on the list.

"Majority of the Balik-Islam Group in the Philippines, the majority of its followers are moderate, peace-loving, tolerant and democratic and it should be clarified why Balik-Islam group is put in the list of the so-called ISIS sleeper cells in the country," Banlaoi said.

The international security analyst also noted the double entries of the same group of people in the so-called list of ISIS sleeper cells.

He said that the Rajah Solaiman Islamic Movement is no longer an active group but the groups' former members have transformed themselves into a group called Syuful Khilafa Fi Luzon.

"If you will rely on the list provided by Solicitor General Calida, there is a double entry of the same people representing two different groups because members of the Syuful Khilafa Fi Luzon are in fact remnants of the Rajah Solaiman Islamic Movement who are in fact Muslim converts who have been radicalized and embracing the violent extremist ideology of ISIS," Banlaoi said.

Banlaoi also noted that of Al Harakatul Islamiyah, one of the groups included in Calida's list, is the same as the Abu Sayyaf Group.

"If those list are based on intelligence sources now I am very, very terribly worried on the way we gather intelligence information because there are inaccurate listing of those groups so we need to rectify and put in the proper context the nuances of this group," Banlaoi said.

The Philippines government might have released the list now as they can no longer downplay and deny the existence of such groups in the country, according to the analyst.

"I think they can no longer deny the obvious that the Philippines is in fact threatened by ISIS followers and they are very active now and they are very eager to mount violence in the name of ISIS," he said.

On May 23, President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao following an armed confrontation between government forces and ISIS-inspired local terror groups.

READ:  AFP: Marawi siege was start of extremist plan to gain ISIS status

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