Fugitive jihadist leader slain

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SHARIFF AGUAK, Maguindanao: A team from the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Thursday killed Mohammad Jaafar Maguid alias “Commander Tokboy,” a suspected terrorist leader, in an encounter in Sarangani province.

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Three of Maguid’s followers were also arrested.

Chief Supt. Cedrick Train, Police Regional Office 12 (PRO 12) director, said Maguid, leader of Ansar Al-Khilafa Philippines (AKP), was tracked down at a beachfront of Angel Beach Resort in Barangay Kitagas, Kiamba town in Sarangani.

Maguid, 32, was in a car when soldiers and police commandos cornered Maguid’s group but the feared jihadist leader resisted and was killed.

Those arrested were identified as Matahata Dialawe Arboleda; Esmael Sahak, alias Mael; and Morhaban Veloso, alias Bugoy.

Mohammad Jaafar Maguid alias ‘Commander Tokboy’

Mohammad Jaafar Maguid alias ‘Commander Tokboy’

Recovered from the clash site were two AR-15 Armalite rifles, a hand grenade, 18 short magazines and eight long magazines, two bandoliers and assorted documents.

A red Toyota Wigo with a temporary plate, a cellphone, a knife, a passport under the name of Dialawi Matahati and a bank passbook were also taken into custody by the PNP-AFP team.

Maguid is known to be sympathetic to international terrorist organizations like the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and feared jihadist leader in Soccskargen (South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and General Santos City) area.

He was arrested in 2009 at Maasim in Sarangani province but managed to escape from Bulantay Jail in Alabel town seven months later.

Maguid’s killing raised a serious security concern not only in Mindanao but also in Manila, where some one million Catholics are expected to join the celebration of the feast of the Black Nazarene on Monday.

Interior Secretary Ismael Sueno said the jihadists may launch terror attacks to avenge Maguid’s killing.

He cited intelligence reports that jihadists from the group of Abdullah Maute may strike during the Catholic celebration in Manila’s Quiapo district.

The AKP also released last year a video of the Islamic State’s Alhayat Media Center that shows the Philippines as among countries in Southeast Asia eyed for expansion of the caliphate under the ISIS.

It is now using the Daesh flag, which is also flown by the Abu Sayyaf Group, Khilafah Islamiyah Movement and other radical groups in Mindanao.

Meanwhile, Director General Ronald dela Rosa, PNP chief, in a statement said Maguid has a standing warrant of arrest for two counts of murder, destructive arson, arson with robbery with violence and intimidation of person and murder issued by Regional Trial Court (RTC) 38 of Alabel, Saranggani.

The slain AKP leader carries a reward of P300,000 for his capture offered by the Department of the Interior and Local Government.

Dela Rosa said an operation is ongoing for the capture of other members of the AKP, tagged as behind the foiled bombing near the US Embassy in Manila last November. WITH Anthony Vargas

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