Philippines: Malaysian financier believed killed in siege

Trevor Jackson
June 25, 2017

RELENTLESS black smoke billows from burning houses after philippine Air force attack planes (inset) dropped bombs during an aerial bombing of a terrorist position in Marawi on Saturday.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has unilaterally declared an 8-hour truce in the besieged southern Philippine city of Marawi starting at 6 a.m.local time on Sunday, a military spokesman announced.

"He (Hapilon) has not been seen in the area".

"We have some reports that he was already able to slip somewhere but as of now we are still confirming the reports", General Galvez told radio station DZBB.

The ST report said he was believed to have been designated as a successor of Isnilon Hapilon, named as head of IS' Southeast Asia wing. "Majority of his group, more than half, were casualties".

Hapilon was indicted in Washington for his involvement in the 2001 kidnapping of three Americans in the Philippines, and has a United States dollars 5-million bounty on his head from the U.S. government, which has his name on its "most wanted" terror list.

Southeast Asian groups, like Jemaah Islamiyah in Indonesia and Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines, find it easier to connect with Bangladeshi network through stints with IS fighters in Syria and Iraq and solidarity initiatives for Rohingyas in Myanmar and also through a few overseas workers and students who develop sympathies for global terror groups, the 13-page report states.

The military says Hapilon's group had joined forces with the Maute Group to launch the Marawi siege, now on its second month.

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"We have prevented the establishment of this wilayat and we have now entered into agreements and also with the neighboring countries so that this will not recur", said Presidential spokesperson Usec.

"These people are suicidal". They also confirmed that he was raising funds for the militants.

He said the militants are seeking shelter in bunkers and tunnels built by Marawi residents to protect themselves against possible clan wars and unrest related to a Muslim insurgency in Mindanao.

Fighting broke out in the city on May 23 when militants occupied many facilities and houses in the city, prompting the military to launch a counter offensive.

He said the military's Eastern Mindanao Command, which covers the regions of Davao, Caraga, Northern Mindanao and parts of Cotabato, has conducted 13,149 checkpoint activities which resulted in the arrest of nine high-profile terror suspects, including the patriarch of the leaders of the terror group, Cayamora Maute.

But late yesterday, Malaysia's police chief, Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar, said the report was untrue, without saying how he knew this. "He is still alive".

On Friday, Galvez said troops recovered two decomposing corpses that bore features of people from the Middle East.

Abella added that the Philippines were making a collective effort to tackle extremism through trilateral cooperation with Indonesia and Malaysia.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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