Colombo, Aug 11 (BAN/CD): An article published by the Singaporean media outlet, The Strait Times, said yesterday (09) that at least two terrorists from Sri Lanka have allegedly sneaked into the Philippines to train local militants on making bombs and attacking churches and other soft targets north of the country.
It is alleged that the two terrorists, who had links to the National Thawheed Jama’ath (NTJ), sneaked into the Philippines with a third terrorist acting as a financier.
The article went on to provide the names of the alleged suspects and quoted the spokesperson of the Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, Salvador Panelo, as saying that the security forces in Luzon were on high alert to thwart such attacks.
However, it turns out that the report is baseless.
Prof. Rohan Gunaratna, the Co-Author of Three Pillars of Radicalization: Needs, Narratives and Networks, said the article in question has no basis and that the two individuals mentioned there are victims of fake news.
He stated that the government of the Philippines has verified that this article is fake. It is highly likely that the Philippines would issue in this regard in the coming days, he added.
Prof. Gunaratna highlighted the importance of the Sri Lankan government making an announcement stating that these two individuals are not linked to terrorism.
The government must take measures to introduce legislation to counter fake news while emphasizing on the importance of responsible reporting.