Philippines terrorist groups vying for Islamic State resources — Army
Manila, Feb. 8, 2019 (dpa/NNN) The fight against terrorism in the Philippines is being hampered by Islamic State’s support for domestic terrorist groups, a military official said on Friday.
According to Col. Gerry Besana, spokesman of the Western Mindanao Command, terrorist groups in the Philippines stage attacks to win recognition and funding from the Islamic State extremist group.
The 2018’s bombings of the Catholic cathedral in Jolo that killed 23 people were the handiwork of Abu Sayyaf, a jihadist group that follows the Wahhabi doctrine of Sunni Islam.
The bombings were reportedly supported by Islamic State.
On Thursday, the Armed Forces of the Philippines said in a statement that it is verifying a U.S. report that Islamic State has ordained Abu Sayyaf leader Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan as a new emir in the Philippines.
“It’s all about resources, it’s all about power, it’s not about what you believe in but recognition, that is why they are launching those violent attacks,’’ Besana said.
Besana said that even before the emergence of Islamic State, local groups had been engaging in terrorist activities including extortion, kidnap for ransom, beheadings and bombings.
However, Abu Sayyaf, he said, has turned into a cult-like group espousing Islamic extremism and launching attacks to gain power and money.
“Extremism takes hold in Muslim communities due to poverty and corruption, and groups like Abu Sayyaf and Islamic State are able to gain followers and adherents as long as these problems persist,’’ he added.(dpa/NNN)
Edited by Abiodun Oluleye/Donald Ugwu