SHARIFF AGUAK, Maguindanao: The Police Regional Office in Region 12 (PRO 12) scored big in its anti-terrorist campaign after its forces gunned down a terrorist, who is a foreigner, on Saturday in Maasim town in Sarangani province.
The suspect was a cohort of Mohammad Jaafar Maguid of the terrorist group Ansar Al-Khilafa Philippines whom policemen also killed in an operation last Thursday.
Supt. Romeo Galgo Jr., Philippine National Police spokesman for PRO12, said the slain foreigner, initially identified only as Abu Naila, and whose nationality has not been determined yet, was neutralized by a team of soldiers and policemen when he resisted arrest during a raid in Barangay Daliao in Maasim.
“Initial reports relayed to us at the PRO-12 by our operatives in Sarangani indicated that Abu Naila, a loyal follower of Maguid, the slain leader of Ansar Khilafa Philippines, is a foreigner. We’re still trying to establish his exact nationality,” Galgo added.
The operation that resulted in the killing of Abu Naila was part of an operation to locate in seaside towns in Sarangani the remaining followers of Maguid, a known founder of the outlawed Ansar Al-Khilafa jihadist group.
This jihadist group, just like the Maute group operating in Lanao del Sur, is imitating the style of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria by using the ISIS black flag as their “revolutionary” banner.
Maguid, known to his contacts in the Middle East and Pakistan as Abu Shareefa Al-Filipini, was killed on Thursday in a shootout with operatives of PRO 12 and agents of the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency at a beach resort in Kiamba town, also in Sarangani.
Abu Naila, although a foreigner, was a known right hand man of Maguid, who established the Ansar Al-Khilafa group in Barangay Butril in Palimbang, Sultan Kudarat province in 2013.
Maguid and his handful of followers established a camp in Barangay Butril with an ISIS flag in the center.
They, however, were driven away from Barangay Butril in late 2015 by combined operatives of the PRO 12 and Philippine Marines of the 1st Marine Brigade in an operation where seven jihadists were killed in the fighting.
Three of Maguid’s companions immediately surrendered to the police when they knew their leader was already killed.
The Ansar Al-Khilafa terrorists who surrendered were identified as Matahata Dialawe, Arboleda Shahak and Morhaban Veloso.
They are now detained in an undisclosed police camp and are heavily guarded against any attempt by companions to rescue them from detention just like what happened during an attack on the North Cotabato District Jail in Kidapawan City last week that led to the escape of 158 inmates.