MANILA — The 1,200 ISIS fighters allegedly operating in the Philippines is the sum of all local terrorist groups in the country, said Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief-of-staff Gen. Eduardo Año on Tuesday.
These terror organizations are the Abu Sayyaf, Maute Group, Ansar Al-Khilafah Philippines, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and former members of the Jemaah Islamiyah.
Año made this statement in wake of claims made by Indonesia Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu who said that 40 of the 1,200 ISIS operatives are Indonesians.
He added only cooperation, understanding and consensus can prevent these terrorists from setting up root in Southeast Asia.
“The figures mentioned by the Indonesians are most probably the total sum of all local terrorists known to be operating in the country. Of the 1,200 so far claimed, we have only detected 40 foreign jihadists,” he added in Filipino.
The AFP chief stressed they have already determined the affiliations of the foreign jihadists which includes some Indonesians.
The military is tracking down the locations of these foreign terrorists and neutralizing them as proven by a military operation in Piagapo, Lanao Del Sur which neutralized an estimated four or more foreign jihadists during the last week of April.