In last week’s issue of al-Naba’, the Islamic State’s weekly newspaper, an article claimed that “soldiers of the Caliphate” in the southern Philippines had killed around 300 members of the “Crusader Filipino Army” in the last few weeks, and forced around 2,000 others to retreat. It went on to report that a number of new jihadist brigades in the archipelago state had joined their brethren in pledging allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Islamic State’s self-proclaimed caliph.
THE Islamic State has gained a footing in the southern Philippines and is uniting regional militants for a “jihadi war” that can only be stopped if the armies of the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia unite.
Singapore-based counter-terror experts Jasminder Singh and Muhammad Haziq Bin Jani told News Corp that there was now hard evidence that ISIS was extending its caliphate ambitions to South-East Asia.
“I think from what we are already seeing in the Philippines it’s obvious there is an ISIS presence,” said Mr Singh.
He said the death of Moroccan bombmaker instructor Mohammad Khattab, killed in a firefight in April on Basilan Island, in the southern Philippines, was evidence that the long-running Muslim insurrection in the region was changing in nature.
Abu Sayyaf, a local Islamist militant group that recently pledged alliance to ISIS, launched a speedboat raid on the plush Holiday Oceanview Resort.
They abducted four guests: two Canadians, John Ridsdel and Robert Hall; Hall’s Filipina girlfriend Marites Flor; and Norwegian national Kjartan Sekkingstad. The kidnappers demanded a $100 million ransom after making an easy escape. “Unfortunately, the lead time that the abductors had and the darkness of night were able to cover the retreat of the abductors,” military spokesman Colonel Restituto Padilla told reporters in Manila.
No ransom has been paid. On April 25, the severed head of Ridsdel, a 68-year-old Calgary businessman, was found in a plastic bag on in a street in Jolo, the main island of Abu Sayyaf’s heartland of Sulu, itself a chain of islands that stretches from Mindanao to the northern tip of Malaysian Borneo.
In screenshots from a new video purportedly released by Islamic State affiliate Abu Sayyaf, the ISIS-affiliated terrorist group releases one last threat to behead Canadian Robert Hall or Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad if ransom is not paid. The newest ransom video comes a week after a video threatening the groups beheading was released. That video came a week after a video showing the beheading of Canadian John Ridsdell was released