Philippine Security Forces on Friday 26th February announced they had killed 42 Muslim rebels that have sworn linkage to ISIS and capture their major strongholds in a 5-day operation in the mountains of the southern Island of Mindanao.
The killed militants belonged to an affiliate of Jemaah Islamiah which is a Southeast Asian network of the Islamist network based in the province of Lanao del Sur. The troops are currently pursuing the escaping militants in armored assets according to a military source.
The militants have been operating near the largest Muslim rebel group- Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) stronghold who are said to have been nonpartisan in the violence but instead helped the 8,000 people displaced by the skirmishes.
The Philippines government and MILF signed a peace deal that put an end to the over 45 years of conflict in 2014 and it had killed 120,000 people and displaced over 2million. MILF’s lack of involvement is a clear indication that the jihadis involved and who have pledged allegiance to ISIS are practicing radical and extremists ideologies that the groups does not subscribe too.
Philippines has had several affiliates of the ISIS operating in the poor but resource rich south among them Abu Sayyaf group.