By Joseph Jubelag
General Santos City – Authorities are keeping an eye on the reported recruitment of Islamic State (IS)-inspired local terror group Ansar Khilafah Philippines in Central Mindanao region following the death of a suspected AKP leader in a shootout with police operatives in Polomolok, South Cotabato recently.
Chief Insp. Aldrin Gonzales, regional police spokesperson, said police authorities have been coordinating with the military authorities and security forces in monitoring the recruitment activities of the IS-inspired AKP terror group in the provinces of Maguindanao and Sultan Kudarat.
Police killed last Wednesday Benzaid Nilong, a suspected AKP leader, in a shootout last Wednesday in Barangay Pagalungan, Polomolok, South Cotabato.
South Cotabato police director Nestor Salcedo said Nilong was killed after he shot it out with policemen manning a checkpoint along the national highway in Polomolok town.
He said Nilong and three other unidentified companions onboard two motorcycles resisted arrest when flagged down by policemen.
The three other suspects managed to escape during the hot pursuit operation.
Police tagged the group of Nilong as responsible for a series of criminal activities including illegal drugs, robbery, carnapping and gun-for-hire in Polomolok and nearby areas.
The group was also tagged responsible for the killing of Senior Inspector Herman Gabat, deputy police chief of Polomolok, last September 2017.
Gabat, who was a staunch anti-illegal drugs advocate, was gunned down by two unidentified gunmen while eating inside a restaurant along the national highway in Polomolok town.
Police tagged Nilong as one of the remnants of AKP leader Mohamad Jaafar Maguid was killed in an encounter with security forces last January 2017 in Kiamba, Sarangani.
In Palimbang, Sultan Kudarat, police authorities have intensified their campaign against loose firearms amid the declaration of Martial law in Mindaanao.
Sultan Kudarat police director Raul Supiter said police authorities had retrieved at least 28 high-powered firearms which were turned over by village officials in Palimbang town.
The recovered firearms include three M16 rifles, five M14 rifles ; three Garand, one M-79 rifle; thirteen 20 gauge shotguns; two M-203 grenade launcher and one UZI sub-machine pistol.
Supiter said security forces had launched the campaign to recover the firearms which might be passed on to members of AKP terror group who had established a stronghold in Palimbang town.
Intelligence reports had indicated that Maguid who used to live in Palimbang town had reportedly received logistical support which includes firearms and money from Palimbang Mayor Abubacar Maulana.
Maulana had gone into hiding after the local court ordered for his arrest over charges for illegal possession of explosives filed by the police last November.
Tags: AKP terror group, Aldrin Gonzales, Ansar Khilafah Philippines, Authorities wary of AKP recruitment in Mindanao, Benzaid Nilong, Inspector Herman Gabat, Police authorities, recruitment activities, South Cotabato police director, Sultan Kudarat