ZAMBOANGA CITY: Jihadists allied with the Islamic State (IS) militant group have beheaded a man they accused of being a police spy in the southern Philippine province of Sarangani, reports by an international research organization and foreign media said Thursday.
The SITE Intelligence Group said members of the Ansaru’l Khilafah (Supporters of the Caliphate) Philippines captured Tuesday the 43-year-old man 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, according to the news website NT News (ntnews.com.au). The clip could not be independently confirmed, and police and military authorities have not issued any statement about the brutal execution.
There was also no other information about the man released by the jihadist group, which, along with the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and Khilafah Islamiyah Movement (KIM), had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (IS), which burst on to the international scene in 2014 when it seized large swathes of land in Syria and Iraq.
The radical militants in Indonesia and Malaysia, as well as the Southeast Asian terror group Jema’ah Islamiyah also pledged allegiance to the IS last year.
Last year, the jihadists also released a video of the IS’s Alhayat Media Center, which shows the Philippines as among countries in Southeast Asia where they were planning to expand the “Khilafah” (caliphate).
Most of the Ansaru’l 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, just like what the Abu Sayyaf does, in the provinces of Basilan, Tawi-Tawi and Sulu – all in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) – to which Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur belong.
Basilan also has become the bastion of power of the Abu Sayyaf after its leaders pledged allegiance to the IS. And in a propaganda video released this year by the Abu Sayyaf 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 Dec. 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 the troubled province of Basilan 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, where the IS established its own caliphate state. AL JACINTO and MOH SAADUDDIN
AJ & MS/BF