09 March 2016
After last week’s release of video footage purporting to show several Philippine Islamist factions pledging their allegiance to the “Islamic State” (IS) militant group, one terrorism expert predicts the Middle East-based network is close to declaring their first satellite province in Southeast Asia.
Dr Rohan Gunaratna, who heads of the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research, said ‘IS’ intends to “enforce its strict laws and code of conduct” in the southern Sulu archipelago, where the majority of the Philippines’ roughly six million-strong Muslim population lives.
“Regional governments are very worried that with the declaration of an “IS” branch in the southern Philippines the group will start to train militants from around the region, and thus expand the threat,” Gunaratna told DW.
… “I am not sold on the idea that ‘IS’ will declare a caliphate soon,” Professor Joseph Raymond Silva Franco from Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University, told DW. Franco said reports of a loyalty pledge by Philippine militants came from a Russian-language “IS” magazine, which he described as being run by so-called “jihobbyists.”
CENS / GPO / ICPVTR / Online
Last updated on 10/03/2016