Tag Archive: Marwan


An alleged student of slain Malaysian bomb expert Marwan who is himself wanted for carrying out bombings, was arrested in Panaon, Misamis Occidental, Saturday afternoon, a police official said.

Arrested was Abdul Malik Sali, a member of the Al Khobar group, Northern Mindanao regional police director Chief Superintendent Agrimero Cruz said.

Elements of the Panaon Police and the PNP’s anti-terror Special Project: Mindanao Khilafah Islamiyah arrested Sali at a checkpoint along the National Highway around 5:30 p.m., Cruz said in a text message.

Operatives carried out the arrest on warrants for multiple murder with frustrated murder and multiple attempted murder, he said.

Sali is believed to be behind two bombing incidents in Kidapawan City, North Cotabato, and Digos City, Davao del Sur, where several lives were lost, Cruz said.

He is a “member of the Al Khobar terrorist group under the umbrella of the group of Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan,” the police official said.

Sali’s arrest came almost two months after Marwan, a suspect in the deadly 2002 bombings in Bali, Indonesia, was killed in a raid by the PNP Special Action Force in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, last January 25.

The raid, however, also cost the lives of 44 SAF members as armed Moro groups ganged up on the police commandos.

In 2008, the Department of Interior and Local Government announced a P400,000 reward for anyone who can help authorities capture Sali, one of the suspects in the bombing of a Metro Shuttle Bus in September 1 that year.

The incident killed at least five people and injured 30 others.

Same bounties were offered for Sali’s fellow bombing suspects Mahir Abu Bakr and Jonaria Mindiba.

Al Khobar is a group of extortionists based in the marshlands of Maguindanao and are responsible for the spate of bombings in Central Mindanao since 2006, according to a statement issued by the PNP in 2013.

The group was allegedly created to support the Southeast Asian terror network Jemaah Islamiyah and other foreign militant jihadist groups.

It was intended to serve as a special unit concentrating on using explosives and carrying out extortion schemes across Cotabato, until it transformed into a kidnap-for-ransom gang and, much later, into an extortion group, according to the police statement. (John Roson)

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Marwan escaped in 2012 — AFP

The Armed Forces on Monday admitted that Malaysian Jemaah Islamiyah operative Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan escaped a military air strike in 2012, contrary to its previous claim.

Then AFP chief Gen. Jessie Dellosa did not endorse the release of the reward on the Malaysian bomb expert’s head “because there was a validated report that Marwan was able to escape unharmed,” AFP public affairs chief Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc said.

Marwan — for whose capture the U.S. government offers a whopping US$5 million — was reported by the AFP as killed after Air Force planes dropped bombs on Brgy. Duyan Kabao, Parang, Sulu, on February 2, 2012.

“The AFP announced the death of Marwan in February 2012 based on the existing intelligence data during that time,” Cabunoc said.

Cabunoc’s remarks came amid reports that Marwan had indeed been killed in the operation by members of the PNP Special Action Force (SAF) in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, last January 25.

Forty-four SAF members were killed in a clash with members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) as they withdrew from Marwan’s hideout.

“The DNA testing that is currently undertaken will prove his (Marwan) reported death in Mamasapano,” Cabunoc said. (John Roson)

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The government sacked the commander of the National Police’s Special Action Force (SAF) following the death of more than 40 police commandos in a clash with Muslim armed groups in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, over the weekend.

Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas and PNP officer-in-charge Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina made the announcement then claimed that they did not recieve prior notice of the elite police unit’s operation, which eventually turned into the bloody clash.

Director Getulio Napeñas was relieved as SAF commander pending the result of an investigation by the PNP, Roxas said in a press briefing in Camp Crame Tuesday.

“He (Napeñas) was given chance to help recover body of his men, but today he was recalled back to Manila,” Roxas added.

Espina said in the same briefing that SAF deputy commander Chief Superintendent Noli Taliño will replace Napeñas, in an officer-in-charge capacity.

“His (Napeñas) administrative relief will pave the way for the start of the board of inquiry, I would like to get to bottom of things,” he said.

The inquiry will be conducted by Directorate for Integrated Police Operations-Western Mindanao head Dir. Edgardo Ingking, Criminal Investigation and Detection Group chief Dir. Benjamin Magalong, and Directorate for Research and Development head Chief Supt. Catalino Rodriguez, Espina said.

Crame ‘not told’ of SAF operation

Roxas and Espina claimed that the DILG and PNP leadership were not informed of Sunday’s SAF operation in Mamasapano — which involved almost a battalion of police commandos in full battle gear — before it was executed.

“No… Ang masasabi natin, hindi ‘yan dumating sa command group,” Roxas said when asked if the operation was cleared with him.

“It did not reach the command group. That’s as far as I can say, everything will be tackled in the board of inquiry… It didn’t reach us,” Espina said for his part.

A total of 392 SAF members from different parts of the country participated in the operation, which targetted Malaysian Jemaah Islamiyah operative Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan and Filipino bomb expert Abdul Basit Usman, Roxas said.

“It was a legitimate operation,” Roxas said in a televised press briefing in Maguindanao on Monday afternoon.

Bitter pill

Roxas on Tuesday maintained his careful stance on how the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) — which just concluded peace negotiations with the government last year — was involved in the clash that followed the SAF raid.

As of Tuesday, 44 SAF members were confirmed killed while 12 are injured and 336 are unharmed and accounted for, Roxas said.

“Tuloy ang tiwala at kumpiyansa ng PNP sa peace process na bagamat napakalungkot, matindi ang kapaitan ng pangyayari, ang mas malawak na peace process ay mahalaga at kabahagi ang PNP sa pagsulong ng peace process,” he said.

The government and MILF signed a peace agreement March 2014 and are currently waiting for the approval of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), which will implement their deal.

Congress’ deliberations on the BBL were suspended until investigations on the clash are completed.

Elements of the SAF were first attacked by members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), then had a “misencounter” with members of the MILF, Roxas explained.

The DILG chief also said Tuesday that investigators still have yet to determine if Marwan, who is wanted by the U.S. government, had indeed been killed in the SAF raid as earlier field reports indicated.

‘Justice’

Despite their toned-down stance, Roxas and Espina vowed to give “justice” to the slain SAF members.

“‘Yung pagbibigay ng katarungan ay sa dalawang paraan – filing ng kaso versus sa mga pumatay sa SAF heroes, kabahagi na nito ‘yung kung may lapses at pananagutin kung meron man, and honors and benefits,” Roxas said.

Espina said full honors, awards, and promotion will be given to the slain police commandos while benefits will be extended to their families.

“I will recommend the highest possible medals to be given — equivalent to a Gold Cross medal — to our fallen heroes. I will also recommend spot promotion of those who died in this operation. Full state honors, benefits will be given,” he said.

Director Rolando Purugganan, head of the Directorate for Comptollership, was tasked to facilitate and ensure the distribution of awards and benefits to the slain policemen and their families, Espina said.

Central Mindanao police take strong stance

While the DILG and PNP leadership kept statements at a low key, the Central Mindanao regional police outrightly condemned the killing of SAF members in Mamasapano.

“The bloodbath brought about by the brutal and cowardly doing of heartless rebel groups was such inimical and condemnable act,” Chief Superintendent Lester Camba, director of the Region 12 police said in a statement.

Camba’s statement came along with one from North Cotabato Gov. Emmylou Mendoza.

“The incident is condemnable, we must not forget the series of bombings that occurred in the province of North Cotabato… Our elite special forces were going after two notorious bomb makers,” the police statement quoted Mendoza as saying.

Marwan and Usman, along with members of the BIFF, are blamed for the recent bombings in North Cotabato and other parts of Central Mindanao.

North Cotabato and Maguindanao share a vast, marshy border where bombing suspects and rebels who conducted attacks in previous years are said to be hiding.

“While we support our peace initiatives, our government troops who set law and maintain order in this civilized society should be respected and not killed,” Mendoza added.

Blast kills 2

As Tuesday wound to a close, a still unidentified type of explosive went off in Pikit, North Cotabato, killing two people.

The explosion occurred near a convenience store along Manuel L. Quezon st., Brgy. Poblacion, around 6:11 p.m., said Capt. Jo-Ann Petinglay, public affairs officer of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division.

Two persons on a motorcycle died on the spot because of the blast, Petinglay said in a text message.

The two are “suspected bombers killed by the premature explosion of the IED (improvised explosive device) they were carrying,” Senior Superintendent Danilo Peralta, director of the North Cotabato provincial police, said in a separate message.

Local police are still trying to identify the fatalities and the type of IED that went off, Peralta said. (John Roson)

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Police have confirmed that there were casualties in Thursday’s air strike in Parang, Sulu, but remained clueless on identities despite military claims that those killed were Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) members.

“Ang maa-assure lang namin is may binomba dun ‘yung Air Force, ma-assure din namin is may namatay, pero with regards to the identity eh zero pa kami,” Chief Supt. Bienvenido Latag, Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao police director, said in a phone interview.

Hours after the predawn air raid, military officials and spokesmen said 15 were killed, including JI operatives Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan and Muhammad Ali bin Abd Al-Rahman alias Muawiyah, and Gumbahali Umbra Jumdail alias Dr. Abu, a top Abu Sayyaf leader.

On Friday, Armed Forces spokesman Col. Arnulfo Burgos announced names of eight other fatalities, but admitted that no bodies were found at the bombarded area.

The eight comprise alias “Jumong,” a suspected Malaysian JI operative; Abu Sayyaf members Moammar Jumdail alias Ting, a son of Dr. Abu; Tati Jamhali; Tuan Nash Lipae; alias Leong; alias Teng; alias Muin; and alias Julpe.

“We are not in possession (of the bodies) right now, but we already have locations, some were taken deep into the MNLF (Moro National Liberation Front) territory,” Burgos said.

Latag, for his part, said policemen who went to the area could not even tell how many were killed after OV-10 planes dropped four 260-pound bombs.

“Kino-collect pa ang reports galing sa ground kasi iba-iba ang sinasabi ng mga tao dun. May nagsasabi na labindalawa (ang namatay), may nagsasabi na walo,” he said.

“Immediately after the bombing nagpunta sila (policemen) doon, na-pinpoint nila exactly kung saan bumagsak ‘yung bomba and according to them, talagang may nawasak na mga bunker at saka may mga traces of blood, but wala silang nakuhang tao,” Latag said.

Latag, who once served as an operative in Sulu during the adbuction and captivity of three International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) workers in 2009, said the bombs fell somwhere between Brgys. Duyan Kabau and Lanao Dakulah.

“Kung makikita mo talagang area ng MNLF ‘yan, area ng MNLF na pinapasyalan ng Abu Sayyaf, actually hindi kontrolado ng Armed Forces yan, pulis lang ang nakakapasok diyan kung minsan,” he said.

The area is near Mt. Taran, where Abu Sayyaf gunmen held captive Filipina Mary-Jean Lacaba, Swiss national Andreas Notter, and Italian Eugenio Vagni, who were abducted in Jolo after inspecting water and sanitation facilities for the ICRC, Latag said.

Burgos said the military is now asking members of the slain militants’ families to let them see the bodies for “identification procedures,” including DNA testing.

Malaysian authorities are also getting in touch with the AFP to recover the body of Marwan, whose mother reportedly requested for her son’s remains to be returned to their home in Muar, Johor, the military spokesman added. (John Roson)

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Five operatives of the regional terror network Jemaah Islamiyah are still on the loose after government forces carried out an air raid on the group’s lair in Parang, Sulu, the military said.

“Right now they are disorganized, they are on the run,” Col. Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos, Armed Forces spokesman, said in a briefing Friday. “What we know is that they are still in Mindanao.”

The five are among six Malaysian JI operatives who were monitored by the military as to have entered the Philippines in December, Burgos said.

One of the six, identified only through the alias “Jumong,” was among the 15 terror suspects who were killed in the air strike, he said.

The 15 included JI operatives Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan and Muhammad Ali bin Abd Al-Rahman alias Muawiyah, and Gumabahali Umbra Jumdail alias Dr. Abu, a top Abu Sayyaf leader, the military said on Thursday.

Burgos identified the others killed in the assault as Abu Sayyaf members Moammar Jumdail alias Ting, a son of Dr. Abu; Tati Jamhali; Tuan Nash Lipae; alias Leong; alias Teng; alias Muin; and alias Julpe.

“We are not in possession (of the slain militants’ bodies) right now, but we already have locations, some were taken deep into the MNLF (Moro National Liberation Front) territory,” he said.

When military planes dropped four 260-pound bombs in Brgy. Duyan Kabao, the militants were “temporarily harbored and housed in tents” and some survived, Burgos said.

“They were confident na hindi sila babanatan kasi nga MNLF territory,” a military source said.

Meanwhile, Burgos said the military is now asking members of the slain militants’ families to let them see the bodies for “identification procedures,” including DNA testing.

Malaysian authorities are also getting in touch with the AFP to recover the body of Marwan, whose mother reportedly requested for her son’s remains to be returned to their home in Muar, Johor, the military spokesman added. (John Roson)

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The military chief in Western Mindanao maintained that top Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) and Abu Sayyaf leaders got killed in Thursday’s air strike in Parang, Sulu, despite finding no bodies.

Major Gen. Noel Coballes, AFP Westmincom chief, even ordered troops to prepare for a possible retaliation of terrorists as a consequence of their leaders’ death.

In a phone interview Friday, Coballes admitted that troops have yet to recover bodies of any of the 15 JI and Abu Sayyaf members he claimed were killed.

He, however, insisted that Marwan, considered as the JI’s top leader in the country, was killed along with Singaporean operative Muawiyah and Abu Sayyaf leader Gumbahali Umbra Jumdail alias Dr. Abu.

“Kasama sila sa namatay. (Pero) hindi natin ma-retrieve e, that’s now the subject of our focus, to retrieve,” Coballes told reporters.

Other JI and Abu Sayyaf members who were in the encampment in Brgy. Duyan Kabao during the early morning air raid might have taken some of the bodies away, according to the official.

However, he said police who entered the area after the assault found “body parts” that might have belonged to the fatalities.

But Chief Supt. Bienvenido Latag, Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao police director, told said in a separate phone interview that they are still waiting for the military’s report on the fatalities as of Friday noon.

“Hindi pa kami makapagsalita diyan dahil hindi pa nagsusubmit ng report ang AFP,” Latag said.

Meanwhile, Coballes said he alerted troops for a possible retaliation of other units of the Abu Sayyaf in Western Mindanao.

“We have already prepared for any probable retaliation… we’ve alerted all our troops with regard to that, even before the execution of the plan,” he said. “We are already doing our (preparation) for the probable targets.” (John Roson)

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Fifteen Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) members, including three Al Qaeda-linked top leaders, were killed when military planes carried out an air strike on the bandits’ lair in Parang, Sulu, Thursday morning, military officials said.

Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan, a Malaysian bomb expert of the Al Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiyah. (photo courtesy of AFP Public Affairs Office)

Among those killed were Abu Sayyaf sub-commander Abu Jumdail alias Dr. Abu and JI operatives Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan and Muhammad Ali bin Abd Al-Rahman alias Muawiyah, Maj. Gen. Noel Coballes, Armed Forces Western Mindanao Command chief, told reporters in a phone interview.

“This is a deliberate, fully-planned attack coming from our forces,” Coballes said. “That will have a very big impact on the capability of the terrorists.”

Colonel Arnulfo Burgos, Armed Forces spokesman, said OV-10 military planes dropped bombs at the bandits’ lair in Brgy. Duyan Kabao around 3 a.m. before troops were sent in.

“There was no more resistance when the troops arrived,” Burgos said in a briefing.

Two OV-10 planes dropped four bombs, with three sucessfully exploding, according to a report from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao police office.

Gumbahali Umbra Jumdail alias Dr. Abu, one of the Abu Sayyaf's top leaders in Sulu. (Photo courtesy of AFP Public Affairs Office)

US troops based in Mindanao “provided technical assistance in the operation,” Lt. Col. Randolph Cabangbang, AFP Westmincom spokesman, said in a phone interview. He declined to elaborate.

“Marwan,” a Malaysian bomb expert, faces charges of multiple murder, multiple frustrated murder, and multiple attempted murder. The government put up a P7.4 million reward for his capture while the US State Department offered a $5 million bounty.

“Muawiyah,” a Singaporean who once served as a military official with the rank of major, was also an operative of the JI and had a $50,000 bounty.

Jumdail, on the other hand, is wanted for 21 counts of kidnapping and serious illegal detention for the May 27, 2001 kidnapping at the Dos Palmas Resort in Palawan, where several tourists, including three Americans, were seized.

The three Americans comprise Guillermo Sobero and missionary couple Martin and Gracia Burnham. Sobero was beheaded the same year while Martin Burnham got killed when their captors clashed with troops during a rescue operation in June 2002.

The government put up a P7.4 million reward for Jumdail’s capture while the US State Department offered a $140,000 bounty.

On October 30 last year, military planes bombed an Abu Sayyaf and JI lair in Brgy. Karawan, Indanan, with the aim of getting Marwan, Mauwiyah, and Jumdail.

Three bandits were killed but the top leaders were nowhere to be found after the assault.

In July the same year, Marines stormed an Abu Sayyaf lair in Patikul also with the aim of getting Abu Sayyaf leaders but ended up losing seven soldiers, of whom two were beheaded. (John Roson)

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