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ISIS-linked terror group leader killed in Sarangani

Police and government intelligence agents shot dead a leader of an alleged local extremist group claiming affiliation to the international terror group ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) in a raid on a resort in Kiamba town of Sarangani early yesterday morning.

Senior Supt. Dionardo Carlos, spokesman of the Philippine National Police (PNP), said three others were arrested and all of them are members of the Ansar Al-Khilafa Philippines (AKP).

He identified the slain leader as Mohammad Jaafar Maguid, who carries the alias Tokboy, and tagged as leader of the AKP operating in Central Mindanao.

Nabbed were Matahata Dialawe, Ismael Sahak and Morhaban Veloso.

Supt. Romeo Galgo, spokesman of the Central Mindanao regional police, said the operation was carried out at 12:10 a.m. at the Angel Beach Resort in Barangay Kitagas after intelligence operatives confirmed Maguid’s presence in the area.

But as security forces try to get the four people whom they chanced upon inside the beach resort, Maguid reportedly ran towards the area where his guns were placed. It was then that he was shot.

“It is not certain at this point why there were there. All we know is that this Maguid was very elusive, he is highly mobile,” said Galgo.

Seized during the operation were two Armalite rifles that incude a Bushmaster, a hand grenade, passports, a black sweatshirt printed with Ansa Al-Khilafa Philippines, a car, and various documents.

Authorities are hoping to get vital information on the documents seized as well as the content of the cellular phones confiscated from the area.

“His neutralization has a big impact in the improvement of security here in the region,” said Galgo.

The criminal activities of the group of Maguid, according to Galgo, made him a top security concern especially in Sarangani and General Santos City. Maguid carries R300,000 bounty for his death or arrest.

A background check disclosed that Maguid and his men were involved in various criminal activities which include robbery, extortion, arson and murder.

The group of Maguid is also being tagged as responsible in some attacks on government forces.

The AKP is a crudely-organized bandit group which has been active in various criminal activities as part of its efforts to be recognized by ISIS.

Security officials said that while Maguid had been claiming to have ties with ISIS, there has no indication that the link between the two group exists.

Meanwhile, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said yesterday that the death of Maguid serves as a “big blow” to the terror group.

AFP Public Affairs Office (PAO) chief Marine Col. Edgard Arevalo said that Maguid, based on military intelligence reports, is a known bomb maker who managed to train other bomb makers in the past.

Aside from this, Maguid was also a notorious extortionist and behind the bombing incident in General Santos City. (with a report from Francis T. Wakefield) (AARON B. RECUENCO)