IT’S been a week since elite police commandos stormed Mamasapano town in Maguindanao to arrest Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan and Abdul Basit Usman but authorities are yet to receive confirmation that Marwan was indeed killed in the fierce firefight that claimed the lives of 44 members of the Special Action Force (SAF).
“Photographs are not confirmation that Marwan is dead. It can easily be manufactured in a photo shop,” a security source who asked not to be identified told The Manila Times on Sunday.
He said until an official confirmation supported by solid evidence such as the result of a DNA test is made by the President, the Philippine National Police (PNP) or Department of Interior and Local Government, “doubts will continue to linger” on the claim that Marwan is dead.
SAF chief Police Director Getulio Napenas, who has been sacked, earlier claimed that Marwan was killed inside a hut after he shot it out with the SAF commandos.
Napenas said a commando took a picture of Marwan and cut off one of the Malaysian terrorist’s fingers for DNA testing.
The source noted that it was not the first time that Marwan was reported killed by government forces.
In February 2012, the military claimed that Marwan, along with two other wanted leaders of Asian terrorist cell Jemaah Islamiya and the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), was killed in bombing operations in Sulu.
The two wanted men were identified as ASG leader Umbra Jumdail, a.k.a. Dr. Abu, and Singaporean Abdullah Ali alias Muawiyah.
Marwan and his group are operating in the provinces of Maguindanao, Sulu, Lanao and Cotabato, all in Mindanao in southern Philippines.
Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin has admitted that they have no confirmation of Marwan’s death but he has seen photos of a dead Marwan during a briefing after the Mamasapano clash.
“I am not privy to that but what I know is there were pictures,” Gazmin said.
According to the Armed Forces Public Affairs Office chief, Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc, the military is yet to receive proof of Marwan’s death.
“We are also waiting for the confirmation (of his death) based on DNA test,” Cabunoc said.