THE alleged leader of Ansar al-Khilafah (Supporters of the Caliphate) in the Philippines (AKP) who escaped from a four-hour gun battle with government forces on November 23, 2015 was reportedly on a mission to create large-scale violence in Central Mindanao, a military officer said on Tuesday.
The Philippine Army officer, who asked to be identified only as “Major Jamalul,” a Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) integree of Joint Task Force GenSan (JTF-GenSan), has confirmed that Ansar al-Khilafa’s Muhammad Jaafar Maguid, alias “Tokboy,” was tasked to continue the role of a slain leader of their group which claims to be affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
Part of ISIS’s strategic plan is to secure external support and recruit other terror groups in Southern Philippines like the Abu Sayyaf Group, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), Khilafah Islamiyah Mindanao, Moro Islamic Liberation Front-Special Operations Group (MILF-SOG) and other allied forces, according to the officer.
The Manila Times source said that Maguid, trained by Abdul Basit Usman, will continue the role of the latter under the alleged ISIS terror cell that forms the core of the AKP, particularly in Palimbang, Sultan Kudarat in Central Mindanao.
Usman was killed in a military operation in May 2015, four months after the Mamasapano raid that ended the infamous activities of Malaysian bomb maker Zulkifli bin Hir, also known as “Marwant,” in January of the same year.
Maguid, who is now reportedly an important AKP operator, is tasked to coordinate with the Indonesians who were among his contacts with the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) terror cell formerly led by Usman.
A ranking officer of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces Military Intelligence Group (ISAFP-MIG) told The Manila Times that an affiliate of ISIS will be created with heavy Indonesian influence along with Philippine-based groups granted membership into the newly organized AKP.
The AKP was formed in 2013 by Usman and Marwan and was intended to establish a group loyal to the Black Flag ideology of the greater global jihadist movement championed by ISIS.
AKP is among the radical jihadist groups in Mindanao that have pledged allegiance to ISIS, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), the English equivalent for Al-Dawla al-Islamiya fi Iraq wa al-Sham (Daesh), an ISAFP-MIG report said here.
A Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) commander known as Jules King, and father of Maguid, has belied the military intelligence report. He said Tokboy is not a replacement of Usman as AKP leader and that charges against his son are all lies and have no basis.
Link not confirmed
Meanwhile, Police Superintendent Maximo Layugan, chief of the General Santos City Police, denied the existence of ISIS in the region but urged security forces under his area to apply the full force of the law against unfriendly forces.
Layugan said that he could not confirm the report of Maguid’s link with ISIS, except that the suspected leader is a fugitive with a string of criminal cases against him, including a series of bombings in GenSan and Maasim Town in Sarangani Province.
“So far, we have no evidence to say that Maguid has links to ISIS or that they are a terrorist group. Maybe they are just using the ISIS name to gain recognition and popularity,” Layugan said.
He said that until the police intelligence group confirms that Maguid has access to the ISIS or has been arrested, then he could not categorically validate the same.
Layugan also admitted that General Santos has been on the list of top bombing sites since 2001 up to the present as the city is considered a show window of the SOCCSKSARGEN growth area.
String of cases
The suspected AKP leader is facing various criminal charges and has been considered a fugitive.
GenSan Mayor Ronnel C. Rivera has put up a P200,000 reward for the capture of Maguid, who is believed to have been responsible for the 2014 bombing that killed a 17-year old freshman of AMA Computer Learning Center and seriously wounded eight others.
Maguid, formerly a sub-commander of the BIFF under Ameril Umbra Kato, is an escapee from the Sarangani provincial jail while facing charges in connection with the attacks on the town hall and police station of Maasim, Sarangani in August 2008.
Maguid was also tagged in the ambush of a convoy of former Sarangani Gov. Miguel Dominguez during the May 2010 election.