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No ISIS presence in Mindanao, military says

Roel Pareño - Philstar.com

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines - There are no members of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) monitored in Mindanao, a senior ranking military official said.

Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) chief Major Gen. Mayoralgo dela Cruz allayed fears following the recovery of the so-called black flags resembling those of the ISIS in the Middle East.

The marines in Sultan Kudarat encountered and neutralized eight members of the Ansar Al-Khalifa Group, a notorious armed band linked with the Abu Sayyaf and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, last week in Palimbang town.

The troops recovered from the group, which said to be supportive of the ISIS, a barret super sniper rifle and bomb materials.

But Dela Cruz said there is no direct evidence that the said bandit group were members of the dreaded ISIS.

“The group could be riding on the name just to sow fear,” Dela Cruz said.

Ground military forces reported that is not the first time that black flags bearing the Islamic shahada were recovered from the ground. 

Combined troops from the Joint Task Group Basilan under Col. Rolando Joselito Bautista recaptured early this year a village which the Abu Sayyaf militant took control in Mohammad Ajul, Basilan. 

The militant group of Abu Sayyaf leader Ustadz Abbas Alam and Malaysian bomb expert Mohammad Najib alias Anas were also flaunting the black flag in sowing fear and branded those who will not follow them as ‘monapik,' Islam term for enemy.

The troops recovered from the recaptured barangays of Tuburan Proper and Languyan several improvised explosive device fashioned through cut 4-inch iron pipes, liquefied gas tanks, radio transceivers and several black flags.

The military said the Abu Sayyaf groups were also noticed in Sulu hoisting the same black flags when they presented their hostages in video footage posted on the social websites.

It will be recalled also Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilo Hapilon, wanted by the US government for kidnapping, along with his group also pledged allegiance early this year to the ISIS.

ABU SAYYAF

ABU SAYYAF AND BANGSAMORO ISLAMIC FREEDOM FIGHTERS

ANSAR AL-KHALIFA GROUP

BUT DELA CRUZ

DELA CRUZ

GROUP

ISLAMIC STATE OF IRAQ AND SYRIA

ISNILO HAPILON

JOINT TASK GROUP BASILAN

MAJOR GEN

MIDDLE EAST

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