Kin of alleged ISIS supporter unaware of group's existence

Lore Mae L. Andong, ABS-CBN News Central Mindanao

Posted at Nov 28 2015 09:07 PM

COTABATO CITY - The family of one of the personalities killed in the operation of the Philippine Marines in Barangay Butril in Palimbang, Sultan Kudarat denied any knowledge of the group, Ansar Al-Khilafah Philippines, which allegedly sympathizes with the terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

One of the identification cards recovered by the operating troops and presented to the media Friday afternoon belonged to a certain Datumungan Dilangalen, a resident of Cotabato City.

Although the military has not yet confirmed that Dilangalen was among the fatalities in the encounter, his family living in Nayon Shariff in Cotabato City confirmed his death.

READ: 8 killed in attack vs 'ISIS sympathizers' camp

The family identified him through a photo taken by the local government of Palimbang. Although there were already deformities on the profile of his face due to the injuries he sustained in the clash, his mother and siblings recognized his boxer shorts.

His mother refused to face the camera for an interview but a cousin, Bai Princess Dilangalen, spoke to ABS-CBN News Central Mindanao and said they did not know the reason why he was in Palimbang.

Last June, Dilangalen reportedly said that he would be studying Islam and Quran in General Santos City.

They were surprised to receive a call on Thursday, informing them that he was killed in a military operation in Palimbang. They were also surprised to know that Dilangalen was allegedly part of the group Ansar Al-Khilafah Philippines.

According to 1st Marine Brigade Commander General Emmanuel Salamat, they were about to serve the arrest warrant for wanted terrorist Mohammad Jaafar Sabiwang Maguid alias Tokboy when they were fired upon by the group, which resulted to a four-hour firefight.

The group of Tokboy has previous connections with the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).

The group is also involved in bomb making, according to the military and an ally of slain bomber Basit Usman.

"Close si Tokboy kay Basit Usman kaya may previous connection itong grupo with BIFF. Actually sila ni Basit Usman magkasama nagsimula nitong Al-Khilafah," Salamat said.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said that despite the ISIS flags found in the area, there is insufficient evidence to directly link the group to the ISIS.

Meanwhile, the family of Dilangalen said they also did not know about the personalities who were the targets of the operation.

They said they would also have not allowed him to join the group if they had known about it earlier.

"Yung sabi niya lang kasi mag-aaral ng Quran. Decision na kasi niya yun, di naman natin mapigilan kung ano ang choice niya siyempre. Ang sinabi niya mag-aaral siya ng Quran," Bai Princess said.

Dilangalen also called his mother days before the operation, told her to always pray, and said that he might not be able to come home as he was really serious in studying Islam, which to the family's knowledge was good as he would be spreading the word of Allah.

They believe he was just a collateral to the encounter as he was in the area to study Islam and did not have any relations or link to the one targeted by the military.

As of this time, the family has already accepted their loss, saying it might be the will of Allah and that he died in the name of Jihad, a religious duty and a personal struggle in devotion to Islam.

Dilangalen's remains were buried in Palimbang following Islamic rites.