Philippines: 4 extremists neutralized

DFA urges greater cooperation vs ISIS

Philippines: 4 extremists neutralized

World Bulletin / News Desk

Philippine troops killed two ISIL-linked militants and arrested two wounded suspected "key players" of a local extrem cell, officials said Thursday.

Col. Romeo Brawner Jr., deputy commander of Joint Task Force Ranao, said the troops were conducting clearing operations inside war-ravaged Marawi when they encountered the two Maute extremists.

One was identified as Abu Talja, the right-hand of Hapilon, the emir of the ISIL extrem group in southeast Asia and the Philippines.

"We were able to recover the bodies of the two extremists which are now being processed by the Philippine National Police-Scene of the Crime Operatives," Brawner said.

The two brothers arrested are believed to be "key players" of Anzhar Al-Khilafa Philippines (AKP) were nabbed in a town in Sarangani province, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency said.

Gil Cesario Castro, PDEA-Region 12 director, said Faroon Lumatao, 35, and Alhotaibby Lumatao, 36, were arrested by the joint operatives of anti-drug team and the military's Joint Task Force General Santos City in a raid on the suspects' hideout in Kanalo, Maasim town.

According to Castro, the arrested suspects are high-value drug targets who are protecting the El Patron Drug Group that operates in South Central Mindanao..

A ISIL flag, plastic sachets containing about 40 grams of suspected methamphetamine hydrochloride, a rifle grenade, a hand grenade, a 40mm grenade launcher, seven rounds of 5.56mm live ammunition were found at the suspects den.

The raiding team also seized several bank deposit slips, cheques, savings account passbook, and a bag containing bills in different denominations, a brown envelope containing documents detailing monetary transactions were also found.

Castro said the suspects would be charged with dangerous drug possession and illegal possession of ammunitions and explosives.

Just like the Abu Sayyaf extrem group, AKP has also pledged support for ISIL. It had been blamed for a string of extrem attacks in Sarangani and neighboring areas in recent years.

Also Wednesday, community peacekeepers captured an Indonesian national, linked to ISIL, trying to escape in Marawi.

The suspect identified as 22-year-old Muhammad Ilham Syahputra, of Medam, North Sumatra, Indonesia, was arrested by members of Barangay Peacekeeping Action Team (BPAT), who turned him over to the police and military.

Syahputra admitted his group was involved in a suicide bomb attack in Jakarta in 2016 that killed eight. The attack was claimed by the ISIL international extrem group, police said.

Syahputra admitted to police investigators that he arrived in the Philippines in November 2016 upon the invitation of the slain Hapilon.

The military is working to verify claims by Syahputra that 39 Maute stragglers are still in the main battle area in Marawi.

Meanwhile, the Department of Foreign Affairs urged greater cooperation to battle ISIL, following military victories in Marawi and in Iraq and Syria.

DFA Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said Duterte would discuss the fight against extremism, a key priority, with ASEAN leaders and regional partners, including U.S. President Donald Trump, at a summit in Manila on Nov. 13.

Normalization and rehabilitation efforts in Marawi continue despite ongoing clearing operations in the main battle area.

The city had been under siege by Maute extremists backed by the Hapilon-led Abu Sayyaf group. 

Exactly five months after the conflict, Marawi was liberated by the government.                        
Güncelleme Tarihi: 03 Kasım 2017, 10:53