• Two new rebel groups emerge in restive southern region

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    GOVERNMENT security forces have monitored the emergence of two new militant groups in the restive region of Southern Philippines, which are also known for the heavy presence of rebels, bandits and lawless elements.

    Highly placed sources from the police intelligence community disclosed Monday that their operatives have monitored the emergence of two militant groups in Sulu province and Central Mindanao region.

    A Manila-based police intelligence officer who asked not to be named since he was not authorized to speak on the matter named these two new groups as “Anak Ti Ilo” and “Young Jihadist Group” (YJG).

    The police officer said “Anak Ti Ilo” (Orphans of War) was formed in Sulu by alleged relatives and orphans of Abu Sayyaf (ASG) bandits and Moro rebels killed in fighting with government security forces.

    “They are mostly orphans and they are operating in the area of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi [Basulta] were most of their members were recruited of came from,” the police intelligence officer said.

    The police source said that they suspects the “Anak Ti Ilo”, have recruited more than 30 members and also be behind in rash of kidnapping for ransom incident that have occurred in Sulu and nearby islands.

    While the other group, the “Young Jihadist Group,” was monitored by police intelligence operatives to be recruiting their members in Central Mindanao region, another source from the intelligence community.

    Like “Anak Ti Ilo,” most members of the “Young Jihadist Group” were also orphans and relatives of Moro rebels that were killed in fighting with government security forces in Mindanao region.

    The Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and it’s by product, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), are the two largest rebel groups that have been fighting the government for self-independence.

    “Their recruitment is mostly in concentrated in Central Mindanao and they may have already recruited some 100 members,” the police intelligence source said.

    The intelligence officer said that they suspect that “Young Jihadist Group,” which is also called as “Filipino Maharlika” have a tactical alliance of links with the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).

    The BIFF, a breakaway rebel group from MILF, strongly opposes the holding of peacetalks between the MILF and Philippine government and advocates for self-rule in Mindanao.

    Security analyst and UP professor, Rommel Banlaoi, said the emergence of new militant groups shows that there are still some groups or individuals still has different views in solving the problem in Mindanao.

    “There are groups viewing the prob-lem and solution to Mindanao conflict from different vantage points,” Banloi, who is also chairman of Philippine Institute for Peace and Violence Terrorism Research, said.

    “These vantage points are informed by political and economic interests of players,” he added.

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