From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Nov 29): PNP: No link between Ansarul Khilafah PH, ISIS
The Philippine National Police assured the public, on Sunday, that the eight members of the Ansarul Khilafah Philippines killed in an encounter in Sultan Kudarat last week had no confirmed links to the extremist Islamic State.
The PNP issued the statement following a similar pronouncement by their military counterparts and Malacañang that authorities have found no credible threat from ISIS despite the AKP’s claims of being affiliated with the terrorist group.
“Further assessment revealed that they have no verified and confirmed links to these notorious extremists. These groups have remained mere bandits engaged in criminal activities,” said the PNP spokesperson, Chief Supt. Wilben Mayor, on Sunday.
Last Thursday, eight men, including an Indonesian identified as Abdul Fatah, were killed in a clash with government troops in Sultan Kudarat.
Although ISIS flags were recovered from the slain suspects, the military maintained it has not confirmed any link of the group to ISIS.
The identities of the eight killed men are still being verified by the PNP.
Aside from the ISIS flags, also recovered were assorted high-powered firearms, materials for making improvised explosive devices, assorted radios, and various documents of high intelligence value.
Col. Restituto Padilla, the Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesperson, said the AKP posted videos of themselves on the Internet expressing support for extremist groups, claiming affiliation with ISIS.
The videos were posted before the recently concluded Asia Pacific Economic Conference summit.
The videos also included threats to mar the high-level APEC summit in Manila.
The AFP has maintained that the AKP are mere bandits engaged in extortion by intimidating victims with arson and explosives.
Mayor noted that apprehensions over the ISIS’ influence might have been caused by the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, France, which left over 100 people dead and more than 300 injured.
“The apprehensions may have been caused by the (attacks) in Paris and also because of the latest service of existing warrants of arrest of identified criminals and rogue elements posing as extremist terrorists,” Mayor noted.
Malacañang has directed the security sector to verify reports of links of the eight men killed in Sultan Kudarat to ISIS, which is also called Daesh in Arab countries.
Meanwhile, the PNP has urged the public to be vigilant, alert and on their toes even if there is no credible ISIS threat to the country.
“The constant call for vigilance and alertness on the part of citizens is a pro-active approach to ensure everyone will do their part to make their communities safe since we have a limited number of police and soldiers,” Mayor added.