Jihadists execute ‘spy’ in Sarangani

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ZAMBOANGA CITY: Jihadists allied with the Islamic State militant group beheaded a man they accused as a police spy in the province of Sarangani, reports said on Thursday.

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It said members of the Ansarul Khilafah (Supporters of the Caliphate) captured the 43-year-old man on Tuesday and was immediately beheaded.

A video of the gruesome killing was also uploaded on IS channel with accompanying statement, saying: “This jāsūs (spy) was roaming and sniffing around the area of the Ansaru’l Khilafah Philippines in Sarangani Province.”

The man was said to be a resident of General Santos City.

The clip could not be independently confirmed and police and military authorities have not issued any statement about the brutal execution.

No other details or information about the man was released by the jihadist group which, along with the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), the Khilafah Islamiyah Movement (KIM) and radical militants in Indonesia and Malaysia, including the Southeast Asian terror group—Jema’ah Islamiyah—pledged allegiance to IS last year.

The jihadists also released a video of the IS’s Alhayat Media Center late last year which shows the Philippines as among the countries in Southeast Asia where they were planning to expand its caliphate.

Most of the Ansarul Khilafah members are based in Sultan Kudarat province and operate in nearby areas of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur and Lanao del Norte where the BIFF and KIM are active. They now use the black IS (Daesh) flag like the Abu Sayyaf in the provinces of Basilan, Tawi-Tawi and Sulu—all in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao to which Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur belong.

Basilan has also become the bastion of power of the Abu Sayyaf after its leaders pledged IS allegiance. In its propaganda video released and picked up by international media, more than two dozen gunmen—including child warriors—led by rebel leader Isnilon Hapilon were seen hiking in the hinterlands of Basilan while chanting: “Dawlah Islamiyah (Islamic State)” after which they recited an Arabic script of bayah or pledge of allegiance.

Hapilon, alias Abu Abdullah, was named as the new leader of the “Harakatul Islamiyah” (Islamic Movement)” the name given to the Abu Sayyaf by its founder Abdurajak Abubakar Janjalani who was slain in a police shootout in Basilan in December 1998.

The Abu Sayyaf evolved to a notorious group known for having carried out kidnappings, bombings and other criminal activities in southern Philippines. The US government has offered a $5 million bounty for Hapilon’s head —dead or alive.

In the video, Hapilon was shown with Abu Harith Al-Filibbieni , who is reported to be deputy commander of the al-Ansar Infantry Division of the IS, and Mohd Najib Husen (Hussein) alias Abu Annas Al Muhajir, a division head of the Ansar al-Sharia of the IS.

The rebels explained in the video that they had previously done the bayah, but did it again in front of their new leaders. It was unknown when the video was recorded, but it was released just after Philippine authorities claimed that Husen was killed during offensive operations against the Abu Sayyaf in December.

Husen was with other Malaysian jihadists – Mahmud Ahmad, Muhammad Joraimee Awang Raimee, Amin Baco and Jeknal Adil – who fled to southern Philippines reportedly to recruit militants and send them to “Dar al-Harb (place of war),” referring to Syria and Iraq.

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