'Most wanted' leader of ISIS-linked group killed in Sarangani

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — A joint military-police force killed the leader of a terror group in Sarangani province early Thursday.

Mohammad Jaafar Maguid, also known as Tokboy, led Ansar Al-Khilafah Philippines. Police described him as "the most wanted person in Sarangani."

Maguid's group allegedly pledged allegiance to ISIS.

Three of Maguid's cohorts, identified as Matahata Dialawe Arboleda, Ismael Sahak, and Morhaban Veloso, were arrested in the operation.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) said the three suspects were Maguid's bodyguards.

In a statement, the PNP said the bandits were in a red Toyota Wigo when authorities arrested them in Angel Beach Resort in Barangay Kitagas in Kiamba.

Witnesses said Maguid tried to escape, but was gunned down in a shootout.

Authorities recovered two armalite rifles and a hand grenade.

In a press briefing Thursday, Interior Secretary Ismael Sueno warned of a possible retaliation from Ansar Al-Khilafah.

"Baka mag-retaliate, iyon ang problema natin 'yung retaliation. That's why you have to double, triple our preparations sa security," Sueno told police, in reference to the Black Nazarene feast on January 9.

'Most wanted'

Maguid escaped from the Sarangani Provincial Jail in 2010. He faced at least 15 warrants issued by various local courts since 2008.

These included multiple counts of murder, attempted murder, arson and robbery with homicide.

Police said Maguid was involved in several killings, robberies, and harassment and extortion cases in Sarangani, General Santos City, and Sultan Kudarat.

Last October, military and police seized suspected bomb-making materials at Maguid's house in Barangay Daliao, Maasim town.

Authorities said Maguid's group planted an improvised explosive device at a Christmas display in Kiamba Municipal Hall last December.

In August, the PNP-Special Action Force (SAF) killed three Ansar Al-Khilafah members in Maguid's neighborhood.

The PNP-SAF recovered high-powered firearms and an ISIS flag.

Journalist Ben O. Tesiorna contributed to this report.