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Sourcesand Gunmen killed in Palimbang encounter with Marines were ISIS sympathizers

 • 18:55 PM Fri Nov 27, 2015
John Unson

PALIMBANG, Sultan Kudarat -- The Jihadist group Marine forces drove away from Barangay Butril in Palimbang, Sultan Kudarat Thursday was bent on organizing an extremist movement in the municipality, officials said Friday.Eight members of the group, led by Jaafar Maguid, who has been introducing himself as a local figurehead of the Ansarul Khilafa Philippines (AKP), were killed by combatants from various units of the 1stMarine Brigade in a series of running firefights Thursday.Sources from the religious communities in Lanao del Sur province said the AKP is an ally of another armed extremist group, the Khilafa Islamiya Movement (KIM), which has also openly been expressing support to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) These are not ISIS groups per se, but they have openly been announcing their recognition of the ISIS. The government should nip them from the bud this early,” an ethnic Maranaw cleric, who requested anonymity, told the and// Pursuing Marines recovered from houses Maguid and his men occupied black flags identical with the flags ISIS men hoist on their vehicles when they move around in Middle Eastern areas where they operate.Senior Marine officers and sources from the 6th Infantry Division said the hostilities in Barangay Butril erupted when Maguid and his men opened fire on approaching Marine combatants sent to check their presence in a peasant enclave in Barangay Butril.Maguid is also known in Palimbang as Commander Tokboy, long wanted for a string of heinous offenses, including cattle theft, extortion and for protecting local drug rings.He was also accused of interfering on the affairs of duly-constituted barangay governments in areas where he and his men operate.Local folks had earlier ranted on the excessive taxation activities of Maguid’s group in Barangay Butril and surrounding areas.Members of the peace and order councils in Sultan Kudarat’s adjoining Palimbang, Lebak and Kalamansig towns said local forces of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) moved out of Barangay Butril as the firefights erupted on Thursday to enable the Marines to freely engage with Maguid’s group.A source from the Malaysian-led International Monitoring Team (IMT) had said the MILF had properly been informed of the planned entry of the Marines into Barangay Butril to check on abuses of Maguid and his men. Coordination was done properly,” the source told and// . He asked not to be identified for lack of authority to speak on the issue.The IMT has been helping oversee since 2003 the enforcement of all security agreements and law enforcement protocols between the MILF and the government.The July 1997 interim government-MILF ceasefire enjoins both sides to mutually cooperate in addressing peace and security issues in flash point areas in Mindanao as antidote to irritants that can affect the momentum of the southern peace process.Brig. Gen. Emmanuel Salamat, commanding officer of the 1stMarine Brigade, said their law enforcement operation against Maguid's group was coordinated with the Palimbang LGU too.Maguid and his followers reportedly tried to indoctrinate villagers on their extremist objectives, among them hate for non-Muslims and bearing of arms as protection from religious persecution.Text messages have been circulating since Thursday purporting that one of the eight gunmen killed in Barangay Butril was an Indonesian bomb expert named Ibrahim Fatah” Alih.Alih was implicated in the deadly October 12, 2002 bombing in Bali, Indonesia.Marine and police officials, however, could not confirm if one of the eight slain gunmen was Alih indeed.Operatives from the Region 12 office of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in Gen. Santos City arrived at past noontime Thursday in Barangay Butril to help document the incident and collect vital information regarding Maguid’s group.Both the MILF and the Moro National Liberation Front disowned Maguid and his men.Maguid was last seen fleeing towards a forested hinterland, in Kalaong area, at the border of Palimbang and Maitum town in Sarangani province.Witnesses have confirmed seeing Maguid’s men carry six wounded companions as they scampered away from Barangay Butril.

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