In a video released last week, members of at least three different insurgent groups from the Philippines pledged allegiance to the Islamic State’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. “Allah is great!” the fighters in the video shouted in Arabic. “The Islamic State … is remaining!”
While the groups have all previously pledged allegiance to Baghdadi separately, their new level of cooperation has led to new concerns. “In the Philippines, the next step ISIS is likely to take is the proclamation of wilayat Mindanao,” Rohan Gunaratna, a terrorism expert at the International Center for Political Violence & Terrorism Research in Singapore told local news site Rappler, referring to the designation the Islamic State gives to its provinces.