Filipino terror groups have come together and pledged allegiance to ISIS.
Four Islamic militant groups, based in the Philippines, have claimed that they may merge to work as a satellite of ISIS in Southeast Asia, reported Yahoo!7.
A video released from the southern Philippines Island of Mindanao showed that a few terrorist groups’ leaders had pledged allegiance to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
As stated by Rappler, the video was released on January 4, 2016 and was circulated on the dark web Jihadi forum Shumukh al-Islam. It featured different terrorist leaders of Philippines, who were previously opponents, coming together to show support to ISIS.
The video shows Abbu Sayyaf, leader of Isnilon Hapilon and Abu Sharifa, leader of Ansar al-Khilafa among other leaders.
“The ISIS-initiated merger of the fighting formations and unification of the leaders will present an unprecedented challenge to the Manila government,” said terror expert Rohan Gunaratna.
Islam is Philippines’ second largest religion. 86 percent of the population of the country is Roman Catholic. The Muslim minority is concentrated on the southern islands of Mindanao, Sulu and Palawan.
Mindanao is an autonomous region and it is mainly because of the religious tension with other majority Catholic islands, reported Heavy.
Meanwhile, Rohan Gunaratna said that the newly merged terrorist groups in Philippines is a matter of concern for Australia. He added that this is a major threat not only for Australia but also for Southeast Asia.
He said, “the recruits who cannot go to Syria because of travel restrictions will train in the Philippines and attack Australia and coalition interests on their return”.
Australian counter terrorist expert in Deakin University, Greg Barton also agreed that there is a huge possibility of terrorist attacks on Southeast Asia and Australia due to the coming together of these Filipino terrorist groups and their fealty to ISIS.