Mindanao gov says: ISIS advocates not necessarily members

By , on October 1, 2014

ABU SAYYAF GROUP (Photo courtesy of the Institute for the Study of Violent Groups)
ABU SAYYAF GROUP (Photo courtesy of the Institute for the Study of Violent Groups)

MANILA, Philippines – Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) governor Mujiv Hataman clarified on Monday that although some factions ion the island have expressed their support for infamous Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), this does not mean that these groups are members of the ISIS.

In an interview on Radyo Inquirer 990AM, Hatman said:“It doesn’t mean na kung nagsysympathize sila doon sa ISIS na sila ay ISIS. Abu Sayyaf pa rin sila,” pointing out that even military experts and politicians said there is no truth to these rumours.

“Yes merong Abu Sayyaf, yes merong mangilan-ngilan na BIFF (Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters). Pero nu’ng pinag-aralan at tinignan ‘yung mga individul na BIFF originally they belong to Abu Sayyaf pa rin,” he added.

Hataman gave the interview after the Abu Sayyaf made threats to kill a German national taken hostage by the group, unless Germany paid a ransom and promised to pull out its support from the military operations against the ISIS.

The rumours were fueled by claims allegedly made by the BIFF – a breakaway faction from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) – that it is affiliated with the ISIS. The ISIS reached global notoriety when they brutally beheaded two American journalists.

On this matter, however, Hataman pointed out that beheadings are not necessarily only done by the ISIS, and that the Abu Sayyaf has long employed beheading as a form of punishment and to kill its hostages.

“Even before the formation of ISIS meron nang ganitong ka-extreme na individual o grupo,” he said.