IS considers Mindanao its ‘province’

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Don’t look now but Mindanao has been tagged as part of the province in East Asia of the international terror group Islamic State (IS), according to a local think-tank.

IS has established caliphate states in Iraq and Afghanistan but it has been on the losing end of its campaigns on the said fronts. The Maute Group which laid siege last year to Marawi City claimed affiliation with IS.

The Center for Intelligence and National Security Studies, through its president Rommel Banlaoi, claimed yesterday IS Central in the Middle East has recognized its Filipino followers as part of its “Wilaya (province) East Asia.”

With Mindanao being tagged as IS “province,” Banlaoi claimed it meant funding may come from the foreign terrorists to their local counterparts.

In a television interview, Banlaoi said in Filipino: “it means if they recognize you as a province then they are obliged to fund you in order to sustain you.”

He warned such fund infusion may result in a repeat of the Marawi attack, this time in Lamitan, Basilan and other cities in Mindanao, “through the use of improvised explosive devices” like car bombs.

But the group said they have yet to receive credible reports of impending attacks, although they asked government forces to be on guard.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has said foreign jihadists have been passing through Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines, the latter by way of General Santos City.

Banlaoi said IS support for Filipino bandits in the south was spurred by the audacity of the Marawi siege.

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