At least five to ten foreign terrorists have sought refuge in the country, the chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) disclosed on Monday.
Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa told a news briefing in Camp Crame in Quezon City that these foreign terrorists are of different nationalities.
“I cannot give you the exact figure but as far as police intelligence is concerned, we are monitoring at least five to ten of different nationalities,” dela Rosa said.
He admitted that Filipino intelligence operatives are having a hard time looking for the Malay-looking terrorists.
The Philippine National Police chief they had received information that the foreign terrorists are training in the country for deployment later to strife-torn Syria.
One of those who had finished training in the Philippines, according to dela Rosa, was a suspected member of the jihadist group Ansar Al-Khilafa Philippines (AKP) killed in Sarangani province in southern Mindanao last Saturday.
“This Sudanese was bound for Syria. So this group AKP is really aligned with the ISIS,” he said.
The slain foreigner was identified as Abu Naila and his wife, a certain Kadija, was also killed during an operation in Barangay Daliao, Maasim town.
Superintendent Romeo Galgo, spokesman for the Central Mindanao regional police, said one of the suspects attempted to lob a grenade at policemen sent to arrest them, prompting the authorities to shoot Naila and his wife.
Police killed last Thursday morning the leader of the AKP, Mohammad Jaafar Maguid, alias Tokboy.
A source from the police intelligence community had said one of the Malaysian terror suspects being monitored hiding in Mindanao is Amin Baco alias Abu Jihad.
The intelligence source said Abu Jihad is a member of the Indonesian terror group Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) who has been given safe refuge by the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in Sulu in Mindanao.
The source added that Abu Jihad is also helping ASG members recruit locally.
The intelligence source said the Malaysian suspect was involved in past bombing incidents in Mindanao and is one of the five JI members who has been hiding in Sulu under the protection of the ASG.
The source from the police intelligence community added that a foreign terrorist from the Kihilafa Islamiya Movement (KIM) is training members of the ASG in guerrilla warfare in an undisclosed location in Lanao del Sur.
The ASG and KIM are among the terrorist groups in southern Philippines that have pledged allegiance to the ISIS.
The source from the intelligence community identified the foreign terrorist trainor as Abdurahman, a Saudi Arabian and a JI member.
The intelligence source said Abdurahman has been staying in the country for many years.
The source added that Abdurahman is married to a Tausug and residing at a mosque near a mall in Davao City.
According to the intelligence source, the KIM has received funding from a support group in Saudi Arabia.