Alleged leader of Islamic State-inspired group, brother slain in South Cotabato

Joint Task Force Central fires artillery rounds towards suspected positions of an Islamic State-inspired terror group in Maguindanao on 11 March 2020. MindaNews file photo by FERDINANDH CABRERA

KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews / 10 September) – An alleged leader of an Islamic State-inspired local terror group and his brother were killed in a joint military and police operation in Surallah, South Cotabato, officials confirmed Thursday.

Col. Jemuel Siason, South Cotabato police director, said that Jeoffrey Nilong, alyas Momoy, leader of Dawlah Islamiyah – Soccsksargen, and his younger brother, Amen Nilong, were killed Wednesday morning after eluding a checkpoint established in Barangay Lamsugod following an intelligence report of the duo’s movement.

Amen was also a member of the local terror group, he added.

While police and military operatives pursued them, the suspects fired at the troops, resulting in an exchange of gunfire that killed them, Siason said.

Jeoffrey allegedly masterminded the 2018 bombing in General Santos that left eight people wounded and was also purportedly involved in robbery, extortion and kidnapping, the official said.

Siason said the Nilong Group is a remnant of Ansar Al-Khilafah Philippines, whose leader Mohammad Jaafar Maguid, alias Commander Tokboy,” was killed in Kiamba, Sarangani province in 2017.

Jeoffrey, the most wanted person in South Cotabato, was also allegedly involved in one of the bombings in Davao City, Siason said.

Since last year, the official said that authorities have been hot on the trail of Jeoffrey, who was considered a “high value target.”

Major Gen. Juvymax Uy, Joint Task Force Central commander, said that the Nilong Group was also responsible for the series of bombings in Maguindanao and Sultan Kudarat provinces.

Uy said troops recovered from the slain suspects a backpack containing four improvised explosive devices, five improvised blasting caps, one improvised grenade, one remote control, six motorcycle alarms, one battery connector, two light testers, and one complete circuit soldering lid. (Bong S. Sarmiento/MindaNews)