MANILA, Philippines – A leader of suspected sympathizers of the Islamic State group was killed Thursday in a clash with Philippine police after resisting arrest at a beach resort in the south, officials said.
Senior Supt. Leonardo Suan said Jaafar Maguid, leader of a small armed group called Ansar Al Khilafah Philippines, died in the shootout in southern Sarangani Province's Kiamba town.
Three of Maguid's followers were arrested in the shooting that happened after police went to check reports from civilians about the presence of armed men, said Suan, deputy director for operations of the regional police.
Officials said Maguid's group is believed to be behind a string of attacks including a grenade blast hat killed a police officer and wounded dozens of people. He is also suspected of recruiting minors in the region.
In August, government troops clashed with Maguid's group in Sarangani's Maasim town, killing three of his followers and seizing two rifles and an IS group-style black flag from the militants.
A number of other Islamic groups in the southern Philippines, including Abu Sayyaf, have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group, but the military says there has been no sign of a direct collaboration between Filipino gunmen and militants in Syria and Iraq.