Int'l terrorism researcher reveals Mindanao will be a training ground for ‘Jihadists’
Angelica Habulan is a researcher from the acclaimed International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research based in Singapore and her field was specifically about the Islamic State (IS) aligned groups in Mindanao.

Ms. Habulan expressed her sympathy to the people in Marawi and appealed that residents in Northern part of the country must realize that Islamic State aligned groups were able to gain power in Mindanao.

“Mahigit sa 20 grupo sa Mindanao ang nagdeklara ng allegiance (bay'ah) nila sa IS at ang lider nito na si Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Last year, madami sa mga grupong ito ang nag-consolidate ng power nila under IS Philippines emir (leader) Isnilon Hapilon (USD $5 million bounty, dati siyang kabilang ng Abu Sayyaf, pero nag-split siya from the kidnap-for-ransom faction ng Sayyaf kasi mas gusto niya yung ideology ng IS). In fact, mga jihadist groups from the Philippines ang mga naunang magdeklara ng bay'ah sa IS right after IS declared itself as a state noong 2014. Ang mga pinakaimportanteng grupo ay Abu Sayyaf, Maute Group, BIFF, at AKP,” a very dependable explanation from Ms. Habulan.

She said that these groups wanted the attention of IS Central in Syria/Iraq so that the IS will claim Mindanao as one of IS ‘wilayah’ or province. As the IS’s power goes weaker in the middle east, it will be beneficial for them to declare wilayah in different parts of the world and become a worldwide jihadist movement.

At kung opisyal na madeklara itong wilayah na ito sa Mindanao, magiging training ground siya for jihadists at magiging jumping pad siya for terrorist attacks not just in Philippines, but also for the rest of the Southeast Asia region,” she added.

Ms. Habulan stated that this situation is what the officials in Philippines and South East Asia fear about. There have been news circulating regarding this movement but many didn’t paid attention to the news because most of the news broadcasted was about the war on drugs.

Maute group has been committing heinous crimes in Mindanao, some of which are the kindnapping and killing sawmill workers, the prison break in Marawi, Davao City blast which resulted to 15 dead and wounded 70. She also added that Isnilon Hapilon, who was based in Basilan, went to Central Mindanao and offered Maute group for an alliance, hoping to establish training grounds in Lanao del Sur and be the IS’ official wilayah in the future. In addition, the AFP focused on neutralizing Hapilon and which instigated the Marawi City attack.

Ms. Habulan appealed to the public to understand the situation because according to her findings, there is a very critical and alarming terrorism threat level in Mindanao and President Duterte is fully aware of the condition as a Mindanaoan, , and the Martial Law idea is his option to neutralize the group. 

She stated a very vital information that will give light on Mindanao’s state. “In fact, madami na ngang mga Southeast Asians (specifically Malaysians and Indonesians) ang nag-travel papuntang Mindanao to fight with Hapilon dahil sa June 2016 IS video from Syria last year na nag-encourage sa mga Southeast Asian jihadists na ‘If you cannot go to [Syria], join up and go to the Philippines’. And if you read IS publications (such as Rumiyah), laging minemention ang mga activities ng Mindanao jihadists as part of the 'East Asia Division' ng IS sa Mindanao.”

Ms. Habulan encouraged the public to ask her some questions and she will enlighten them with her answer. She further emphasized that what is happening right now is the result of what extremist groups has been ‘brewing’ for the previous years.

Source: Angelica Chase Habulan, Counter Terrorist Trends and Analyses

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Int'l terrorism researcher reveals Mindanao will be a training ground for ‘Jihadists’ Int'l terrorism researcher reveals Mindanao will be a training ground for ‘Jihadists’ Reviewed by Kristian S. on 26 May Rating: 5

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