FOREIGN jihadists linked to the Islamic State have established four training camps in the forested ridges of Mindanao to train Filipino militants who are being recruited as fighters for the terrorist group, a government source privy to anti-terror operations told The Standard Sunday.
The training camps are located in Sarangani, Cararao in Lanao province, Barangay Tanum in Patikul, Sulu, and Palembang in Sultan Kudarat, where student recruits are being trained for military operations.
On Saturday, the Palace said there was “no credible threat” to the Philippines from foreign jihadists.
The recruitment of young fighters, mostly students, surfaced following the death of 22-year-old Datu Mongakang Dilangalen, nephew of former Maguindanao representative Digs Dilangalen on Friday in Palembang, Sultan Kudarat.
The young Dilangalen was with 50 militants led by the Indonesian terrorist Ibrahim Ali Sucipto who engaged security forces in a four-hour gun battle on the outskirts of Palembang town. Sucipto and seven others were killed in the firefight.
“That’s how we knew there was an ongoing recruitment operation,” said Capt. Joan Petinglay, spokeswoman of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division.
The Dilangalen family identified Mongakang—known as Mongs—from a photo of the bodies of the slain militants, but refused to accept that he was a member of the terrorist group Ansar Khilafa Philippines.
The three other slain members of the AKP, according to the military, were Abdul Hali, Tatuh Sumail and Kira Sabiwang, all residents of Palembang town. It was still unknown where AKP leader Mohammad Jaafar Maguid was.
Bai Princess Dilangalen Piang Abdulrakman said they knew that Mongs was leaving for General Santos City last June.
The outskirts of General Santos City and its border with Sarangani serves as the operational base of Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighter leader Basit Usman, who was also instrumental in the formation of Ansar Khilafa Sarangani, which later became the AKP.
The intelligence source said the training camp in Sultan Kudarat was adjacent to the area where Sucipto was killed.
“The Cararao complex in Lanao has long been established as training ground by the Jemaah Islamiya through the partnership of AKP self-proclaimed leader Mohammad Jaafar Maguid and Sucipto,” the source said.
The Sarangani camp, the source said, was being used as a staging ground for kidnapping operations against potential targets by the Tanum Group, composed of Abu Sayyaf bandits led by Mohammad Askali.
The Tanum Group was believed responsible for the abduction of three foreigners—two Canadians and Norwegian and a Filipina at a resort in Samal Island in Davao province.
On Saturday, military and police agents arrested one of the Abu Sayyaf bandits reportedly involved in the series of kidnappings in Malaysia and Tawi-Tawi, when he was involved in a car accident in Panamao, Jolo, in Sulu.
Gen. Alan Arrojado, chief of the Joint Task Force in Sulu, identified the ASG militant as Kadaffy Kamsa who was arrested at a hospital in Asturias, Jolo. He was charged with illegal possession of firearms and reckless imprudence resulting in physical injury.
Kamsa is being guarded for possible retaliatory action by the ASG.
Arrojado said Kamsa was with two other ASG members Badong Kamsa and Nixon Manda, who were able to escape from the scene of accident.
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