Philippines: 2 more IS-linked group members killed

 08 Jan 2017 - 11:55

Philippines: 2 more IS-linked group members killed
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ZAMBOANGA CITY, the Philippines: Government forces say they have killed two more suspected members of a IS-linked group, including a foreigner, just days after its leader was shot dead in a joint police and military raid.

Citing a spokesman for the Central Mindanao regional police, GMA News reported that the suspects, identified as Abu Naila and Kadija were killed in a follow-up operation in Maasim town in the southern Philippines on Saturday.

Both are reported to be members of Ansar Al-Khilafa Philippines (AKP). 

“The two were reportedly acting suspiciously and when accosted, the foreigner tried to hurl a grenade at our operatives,” the state-run Philippine News Agency quoted Superintendent Romeo Galgo as saying.

Authorities then shot the two dead.

Galgo said Naila appeared to be African, and had previously been identified as a follower of Mohammad Jaafar Maguid, alias Tokboy, the slain leader of the AKP, who was shot dead Thursday.

The Philippine Star reported that Saturday's operation was part of an effort to locate followers of Maguid in southern seaside towns.

"We’re still trying to establish his [Naila's] exact nationality,” Galgo said.

AKP, which has pledged support to IS, has been blamed for a string of attacks in Sarangani province and neighboring areas since 2008.

Such pledges have prompted fears during the stalling of a peace process between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebel group that IS could make inroads in a region torn by decades of armed conflict.