A clip of a purported Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) member pledging support to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) was uploaded to YouTube on June 24. The pledge was made in Arabic and played over jihadist-inspired graphics. The objective of the clip remains unclear.
The month of June also saw major incidents involving the Philippines-based ASG. Top ASG leader Khair Mundos, who had a US$500,000 bounty on his head, was captured by police in Manila. Further arrests followed of ASG operatives associated with Mundos involved in plots to kidnap local businessmen in Zamboanga City, a Christian enclave in insurgency-hit Mindanao. Thrusting the ASG further into the limelight was a fierce skirmish that resulted in several deaths, including of a junior officer.
Some pundits claim that recent events indicate new links between the ASG and ISIS. And after ISIS declared itself a new “caliphate”, renamed the Islamic State (IS), concern heightened among security stakeholders in Southeast Asia , especially in countries where militant Islamist groups operate. The concern stems from the popular narrative of how terrorist organisations in the Philippines maintain alliances with groups outside Southeast Asia.
… Joseph Franco is an associate research fellow with Singapore’s Centre of Excellence for National Security, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University.
Last updated on 21/07/2014