MANILA — Efforts are ongoing to detect foreigners or Arab-looking personalities out to support local terrorists groups in Lanao Del Sur and other parts of the country.
This was the response of Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief-of-staff Gen. Eduardo Año when asked if there are any sightings of Arab personalities in areas where lawless bands like the Maute Group are known to operate.
“Yes, there are some sightings of Arab personalities, but as I said before there are Arabs going there on the pretext of building foundation or to teach religious teaching so we are not really sure (if they are really sympathizers or not) but of course, it is part of the intelligence tasking to look for foreigners who are inclined to support or to be affiliated with our local terror groups even including those of (Abu Sayyaf commander Isnilon) Hapilon,” he added in Filipino.
Earlier, Año said that around 37 Maute Group members, including three Indonesian and one Malaysian, were reported killed during military operations in Lanao Del Sur last April 21 to 24.
These operations are designed to degrade the capability of the Maute Group.
The AFP chief said that of the 37 killed, 14 were already identified and the remaining fatalities still unidentified as of this posting. Priam Nepomuceno/PNA-northboundasia.com