Manila fears Filipinos joining Daesh after Jakarta attack

Published January 15th, 2016 - 01:00 GMT
A member of the Philippines-based Abu Sayyaf militant group is seen in a file photo. The group is responsible for kidnapping foreigners and for numerous militant attacks in the Philippines. (File Photo)
A member of the Philippines-based Abu Sayyaf militant group is seen in a file photo. The group is responsible for kidnapping foreigners and for numerous militant attacks in the Philippines. (File Photo)

The Philippines government expressed Friday its concerns that Daesh militants could recruit its nationals working in various Middle Eastern countries.

A day after militants linked to Daesh claimed responsibility for an attack on Jakarta, Indonesia, President Benigno Aquino told reporters that Philippine authorities would work with Middle East intelligence agencies to monitor radicalization among Filipinos in the region.

As many as two million Filipinos work in the Middle East, many as domestic workers and other manual laborers.

Aquino said there was no "credible threat" of Daesh attacks in the Philippines, but warned of a general threat.

"We need to be prudent. We will coordinate with (Middle Eastern) intelligence agencies to monitor these communities to see if they have been influenced by ISIS (Daesh)," he said, using another acronym for the group.

He mentioned a Filipino-Lebanese and a Filipino-Saudi, both living abroad, who had attempted to join Daesh. Further, this month the Philippine-based Abu Sayyaf group released a video pledging allegiance to Daesh.

The Abu Sayyaf group is notorious for kidnapping foreigners for ransom, and was also responsible for bombing a passenger ferry off Manila Bay, killing over 100 people.


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