The Armed Forces of the Philippines said there are seven foreign terrorists believed to be “embedded” with local terror groups in western Mindanao.
The foreign terrorists are “grooming” future suicide bombers from local groups that have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, Maj. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, commander of Western Mindanao Command, told reporters Tuesday.
These seven personalities are scattered in Basilan, Sulu, and Maguindanao with Abu Sayyaf and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters. He could not say when they arrived in the Philippines.
The nationalities of the foreign terrorists are still being validated, Sobejana said.
“We will mention the nationalities later on because the embassies will react if we say them now,” he said.
The military is also tracking other 42 foreigners on their watchlist.
“We still have a lot of criteria in validating for them to be considered as foreign terrorists. It’s more on an effort by our intelligence unit,” Sobejana said.
While the affiliations of the foreign terrorists have yet to be established, the Army general said it is widely known that foreign terrorists are “ISIS-inclined.”
Seven people were killed in a suicide bombing attack at a military outpost in Indanan, Sulu last month. One of the two bombers that carried out the attack was a Filipino, the first known case of its kind.
In less than a year, there have been three suicide bombing attacks in Mindanao — two in Sulu and one in Basilan.
© 2019 the Asia News Network (Hamburg, Germany)
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