‘Dead’ JI leaders are alive

Maria A. Ressa
Two terrorist leaders earlier declared by the military as dead are being sheltered by the Abu Sayyaf in Sulu.

MANILA, Philippines – Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) leaders Marwan and Muawiya, allegedly killed in an airstrike on February 2 in Sulu, are still alive, according to senior intelligence sources.

The same sources told Rappler that the 2 terrorist leaders are being sheltered by members of the Abu Sayyaf in Patikul, Sulu.

The highest ranking JI leader in the Philippines is Malaysian Zulkifli bin Hir, better known as Marwan, is a US-trained engineer and also heads Kumpulan Mujahidin Malaysia.

In the Philippines since 2003, he comes from a family of jihadists, including a brother arrested in Indonesia for a 2001 bombing and another brother arrested in the United States in 2007. The US is offering a US$5 million bounty for him.

Intelligence sources confirmed that Marwan was “wounded on his right leg.”

Muawiya is a pseudonym of Singaporean Mohammad Ali. Intelligence sources said he “suffered from an injury on his neck and legs” during the attack which killed their long-time host, Abu Sayyaf leader Umbra Jumdail, better known as Dr Abu.

The 2, along with a third foreigner, have allegedly found santuary in Patikul, Sulu after the attack on Dr. Abu’s hideout.

The most senior Abu Sayyaf leader now, Radullan Sahiron has warned his followers the JI members pose a greater danger to them.  

In the past, the JI leaders were closely intertwined with their Abu Sayyaf hosts. Muawiya was the English translator during the 2009 kidnapping of the members of the International Committee of the Red Cross. – Rappler.com

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Maria A. Ressa

Maria Ressa has been a journalist in Asia for nearly 35 years. As Rappler's co-founder, executive editor and CEO, she has endured constant political harassment and arrests by the Duterte government. For her courage and work on disinformation and 'fake news,' Maria was named Time Magazine’s 2018 Person of the Year, was among its 100 Most Influential People of 2019, and has also been named one of Time's Most Influential Women of the Century. She was also part of BBC's 100 most inspiring and influential women of 2019 and Prospect magazine's world's top 50 thinkers, and has won many awards for her contributions to journalism and human rights. Before founding Rappler, Maria focused on investigating terrorism in Southeast Asia. She opened and ran CNN's Manila Bureau for nearly a decade before opening the network's Jakarta Bureau, which she ran from 1995 to 2005. She wrote Seeds of Terror: An Eyewitness Account of al-Qaeda’s Newest Center of Operations in Southeast Asia and From Bin Laden to Facebook: 10 Days of Abduction, 10 Years of Terrorism.