AFP OPERATIONS IN SULTAN KUDARAT CONTINUE DESPITE NEUTRALIZATION OF SELF-PROCLAIMED ISIS AFFILIATE

MANILA — Even with the neutralization of a group professing ties with terror organization ISIS in Sultan Kudarat, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) units are still conducting law enforcement operations in the above-mentioned province to contain lawless elements in the province.

“The military, through the JTFC (Joint Task Force Central of Western Mindanao Command) continues to assist the conduct of law enforcement operations to contain lawless elements operating in Sultan Kudarat,” AFP spokesperson Col. Restituto Padilla said in a statement Friday.

The clash which took place 5:40 a.m. at Sitio Sinapingan, Barangay Butril, Palimbang town, Sultan Kudarat resulted in the killing of eight members of the so-called Ansar Khalifah Philippine (AKP), he said.

The AKP claims affiliation with the ISIS and other extremist groups, but have no known verified and confirmed links to the latter.

The clash stemmed from operations conducted by the 6th Marine Battalion and 1st Marine Brigade, operating units of the JTFC, against AKP leader Muhammad Jaafar Maguid, alias “Tokboy,” a known criminal and terrorist bomber.

The law enforcement operation was jointly conducted with Philippine National Police counterparts to serve existing warrants of arrest issued by pertinent courts for these criminals at large who have been linked to cattle-rustling and extortion activities employing bombing and scare tactics.

Following the 30-minute encounter, eight cadavers were recovered as well as assorted high-powered firearms, various materials for making improvised explosive devices (IEDs), assorted radios, documents of high intelligence values, and several pieces of ISIS flags.

“The identities of those killed in the encounter are still being verified. No casualty was reported on the side of the government troops,” Padilla added.

He stated AKP recently posted videos of themselves on the internet expressing their support to extremist groups which was seen as their attempt to gain attention. Priam F. Nepomuceno /PNA