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Around 100 ISIS-inspired foreign bandits now in PHL, expert says

GMA News Online logo GMA News Online 3/12/2019 Bordadora, Norman
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Foreign ISIS-inspired terrorists continue to enter the Philippines and immerse with local armed groups, a security analyst said on Tuesday.

According to Jun Veneracion's report on "State of the Nation with Jessica Soho", Professor Rommel Banlaoi said most of the foreign terrorists in the country were Indonesians.

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Banlaoi is the chairman of the Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence, and Terrorism Research.

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Intelligence reports gathered by the think tank indicated that around 100 foreign terrorists are in the country.

These foreigners have reportedly joined the operations of local bandit groups such as the Abu Sayyaf, Abu Dar Group, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, and Ansar Khalifa Islamiyah.

also warned that planned suicide bombing attacks may possibly be launched by the Abu Sayyaf Group in some areas in Mindanano.

"Most likely either in Basilan or Zamboanga City, to be carried out either by foreign terrorist fighters or local terrorist groups," Banlaoi said.

A high-ranking official who requested not to be named and another intel official confirmed the information on the planned suicide bombings.

They said that operations are already ongoing to thwart such attacks.

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A recent New York Times report also said that the ISIS movement is growing in the Philippine soil as the violent extremist group loses territories in Iraq and Syria.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), on the other hand, remained firm that the country is not an ISIS hub.

AFP Public Affairs Office chief Colonel Noel Detoyato said that only a few foreign terrorists manage to enter the Philippines.

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"There is no influx. Kasi pag sinabi mong influx maramihan. Eh hindi naman eh. Paisa-isa, padala-dalawa ang nakikita natin," he said.

On Monday, two members of the ISIS-Maute Group were killed in a clash with government troops in Lanao del Sur.

Thirty-six members of the Abu Sayyaf, BIFF, and Maute Group also surrendered from January 1 to March 7, 2019, according to the report.

"Medyo hirap sila in terms of logistics. Hirap sila in terms of support galing sa mga tao," Detoyato said. —NB, GMA News

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