Thursday, April 14, 2016

AFP denies ISIS hand in Basilan clash

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 14): AFP denies ISIS hand in Basilan clash

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Thursday vehemently denied reports claiming that Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorists is responsible for the attack that killed 18 soldiers and wounded 53 others in Basilan last April 9.

"I would like to address the first issue on the announcement of the ISIS group, (coming from Cairo, Egypt) owing to the attack on Philippine forces in the island of Basilan. First of all I like to say that this is not true," AFP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said.

Reports claimed that ISIS terrorists they have blown seven military trucks, killing 23 soldiers in the process.

"The attack was initiated by the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and (reports claiming that ISIS have staged the ambush) are not true and inconsistent with real events on the ground and we assess that this is mere propaganda on the part of the larger group because they have taken notice of the events in this country," he added.

"As it is, we encourage everyone not to give this value because this is very inconsistent with what is really happening on the ground and as such we are bent on finishing whatever operations we have ongoing," Padilla stressed.

As this develops, the number of ASG bandits killed in ongoing operations in Tipo-Tipo, Basilan since last April 9 has now climbed to 31.

The AFP spokesperson said about half of this number are for validation even as military units continue to scour the grounds to ensure that all of the bandits are neutralized for the betterment of the country.

No government losses were sustained in these operations, he added.

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