• Abu Sayyaf’s Hapilon recruiting members

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    A FACTION of the Al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) identified with sub-leader Isnilon Hapilon has been recruiting new members in the name of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in Basilan province during the past weeks, a source from the police intelligence community disclosed on Wednesday.

    The Manila Times source, an intelligence officer based in Camp Crame, said that the recruitment of new members is centered in the hinterland villages of the towns of Tipo-Tipo and Al-Barka, both in Basilan

    The same source said that the recruitment of the Isnilon group is continuing, indicating that they have their own funding.

    “They have already recruited at least 20 new members, mostly belonging to the Yakans,” the intelligence source said, adding that the group was limiting recruitment to no more than 20 members to avoid detection.

    This is so, the source added, since Isnilon, who comes from Yakan tribe, is favoring the recruitment of his fellow tribesmen for better command and control.

    The recruited Yakans are jobless and hail from hinterland villages.

    The source, who uses the code name Pokemon, said that recruits are promised to be paid P5,000 cash, plus an M-16 rifle for every meeting they attend. So far, they have already held three meetings.

    ASG is one of the Islamic militant groups in Southern Mindanao that have pledged allegiance to ISIS, an offshoot of the Al-Qaeda network of Osama Bin Laden which has taken huge swathes of territories in the Middle-East.

    The other known Islamic militant groups in the Southern Philippines that have pledge loyalty to ISIS are the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and the radical Rajah Solaiman Movement (RSM).

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