PH should brace for large scale terror attacks: expert PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 24 January 2016 14:18

A terror expert has warned that the Philippines should brace for an imminent terror attack in the country as ISIS-inspired factions continue to beef up their capability.

Amid the government’s assurance that the country faces no verified terrorism threat, Rodolfo ‘Boogie’ Mendoza, President of the Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence and Terrorism Research (PIPVTR), said there is no reason to let our guard down as factions supporting the ISIS are already in the country.

“Definitely ISIS shadows and footprints that started to be detected in 2013 remains in the Philippines. From last quarter of 2013 to early 2014 this was considered mainly propaganda initiative level, so they were categorized as inspired or aligned,” said Mendoza on Mornings @ ANC Friday.

Mendoza also said terrorism in the Philippines reached a turning point “when several independent, smaller foreign jihadist groups in the Philippines like the Abu Sayyaf offered an oath of allegiance that was accepted by the central authority of ISIS and they were categorized then as allies.”

The former police intelligence chief added that militant factions in the country that have pledged allegiance to ISIS since early 2013 may launch large scale terror operations with the goal of officially aligning with the group.

“ISIS in the Philippines is now the dominant player…there is an opportunity for Ansar Khilafah which is a member of the supposed ISIS Mindanao to attain this full status if they can satisfy the requirement that they can expand in some areas of the country,” he said.

“We have found out that there are training exercises going on, sometimes their plan is already in between 9 or 10 [10 of course being a large scale terror attack]. So we can expect a large-based scale attack,” he added.

Mendoza added ISIS movers who helped jihadist activity succeed in Indonesia have infiltrated the Philippines. He said this could mean an expansion of ISIS’s reach in PHL, which might also move militant organizations closer to unification.

But Mendoza said there is also room for conflict among existing factions, citing the case of Dr. Mahmud Bin Ahmad, the alleged regional coordinator of ISIS formation in the Philippines.

Mendoza said Ahmad was instrumental in unifying jihadi organizations based in Malaysia and that he flew to the Philippines “not to hide but to assist in the creation of a larger objective that is the Dawla Islamiya Tingara Asia or the Southeast Asia Islamic caliphate.”

Ahmad is supposedly in direct contact with the “central authority by being colleagues of senior leaders of the so-called Katiban Nusantara Malay Archipelagic Unit which is fighting alongside multinationals in the battlefront in Syria and Iraq.”

“Dr Mahmud was able to create a unified four jihadist groups, similarly it was conducted here but there are still questions regarding the BIFF status, Khilafa Islamiya Mindanao status, how they will hit in into the new picture. We the (PIPVTR) see it this way, if they cannot be reconciled we can consider that Mindanao can be divided into two distinct factions,” he added.

The statement comes amid reports firearms used in the Jakarta, Indonesia attacks came from the Philippines.

Mendoza said fighting terrorism depends on correcting flawed national security laws, having a renewed counter-propaganda campaign, and strengthening counter-intelligence efforts. — ANC