06 June 2017

News Story: Indonesia - 1,200 IS operatives in Philippines & 1,200 ISIS operatives in Philippines? Gov't mum

Indonesia: 1,200 IS operatives in Philippines

MANILA, Philippines -  There are about 1,200 Islamic State (IS) group operatives in the Philippines, including foreigners of whom 40 are from Indonesia, the Indonesian defense minister told an international security forum yesterday.

Speaking in Singapore amid a bloody standoff between soldiers and the Maute militants fighting under the IS flag in Marawi City, Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu called the militants “killing machines” and urged full-scale regional cooperation against them.

“I was advised last night, 1,200 IS in the Philippines, around 40 from Indonesia,” Ryacudu told the Shangri-La Dialogue.

The threat of heightened terrorism, including the impending return of hundreds of Southeast Asian fighters who fought with IS in Syria and Iraq, has been a hot-button issue at the three-day Singapore summit also attended by US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.

Hundreds of Maute fighters rampaged through Marawi City on May 23 after government forces attempted to arrest their leader, Isnilon Hapilon.

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1,200 ISIS operatives in Philippines? Gov't mum

By Patricia Lourdes Viray

MANILA, Philippines — The revelation of Indonesian Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu that there are about 1,200 Islamic State operatives in the Philippines came as a surprise to the military.

At the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, the Indonesian defense minister said that around 40 fighters from Indonesia are in the Philippines as part of the international terrorist group.

Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said that the military does not have information on the numbers of foreign fighters in Marawi City.

"The revelations of the Indonesian defense minister is something that came as a surprise to us because as was mentioned by senior defense officials, in truth we don't have those numbers. I'll leave it at that for the moment," Padilla said at a televised press briefing.

Malaca├▒ang also refused to comment on the specific numbers of alleged ISIS fighters in the country.

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