COTABATO CITY: The Region 12 police arrested three alleged members of the Ansarul Khilafah in the Philippines (AKP) in South Cotabato as a campaign against jihadists was intensified.
Supt. Romeo Galgo Jr., spokesman for Philippine National Police (PNP) Region 12, identified the suspects as Abdullah Nilong, alias Ali; his brother Zaidon; and Rebskie Dumat, barangay (village) chief, all alleged members of the AKP, a Sarangani-based jihadist group that vowed support to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria in 2014.
He said the suspects were arrested on Tuesday through 11 search warrants served in the village of Lapu in Polomolok, South Cotabato by joint police units led by Supt. Maximo Sebastian of the Regional Anti-Drug Special Operation Task Force (RAIDSOTF).
Galgo said Abdullah is believed to have assumed the leadership of the AKP after their leader—Muhammad Jaafar Maguid, alias Tokboy—was killed on January 5 in Barangay Kitagas, Kiamba, Sarangani in an entrapment.
Three of Abdullah’s companions were also arrested.
The AKP was organized in Maguindanao in 2014 by the notorious bomber Abdul Basit Usman, who was replaced by Maguid after Usman’s death in the 2015 Mamasapano encounter.
Since the fall of Maguid, there have been setbacks for the AKP arrest the arrest of their fellow jihadists.
On January 7, a foreigner identified by ISIS followers in the country as Abu Naila al-Amriki (which means American) was killed in Maasim town with his wife Khadijah.
The jihadists said Abu Nailah recently migrated to the country to fight in the name of the Khilafah (Caliphate).
Authorities, however, said they are still not certain about the identity or nationality of the slain foreigner because no documents were recovered from him.
Other sources suspected that he was an African or a Pakistani.