THE Filipino doctor who was charged in the US for allegedly financing a foiled Islamic State (IS) plot to bomb the New York Times Square and subway system is not related to former Marawi City mayor Omar Solitario Salic, Armed Forces Chief Eduardo Año said on Sunday.
Año said Russel Langi Salic, the orthopedic surgeon from Cagayan de Oro City, has not been monitored to be providing local support for the IS-linked Maute terrorists that laid siege to Marawi City, Lanao del Sur.
“He (Salic) has been supporting the ISIS itself. The Maute-ISIS that is local. Islamic State is the caliphate of the ISIS because they have established 10 IS states worldwide and among the places they are eyeing to base their IS state is in Mindanao,” he told reporters in an interview, using another acronym for IS.
“He is not related to [Mayor] Salic. They just have the same surname and he is only involved with the international network of ISIS,” he said.
The Maute group is led by IS Southeast Asian “emir” Isnilon Hapilon and Maute brothers Omarkhayam, Abdullah, Ottoh and Maddie.
The military chief said in September that Abdullah, Ottoh and Maddie were killed during clearing operations by the military in Marawi.
Año said Salic was only connected and involved with international terror groups such as the IS and reiterated that there was no information of his links to the local terrorists.
He added that the surgeon has been under the custody of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) after surrendering to authorities last April.
“[Russel Salic] is under NBI custody since he surrendered last April upon knowing that he has a warrant of arrest. Well, he has been monitored to be part of a terrorist network, he is providing financial support to several extremists or suspicious terrorists in the Middle East, US and Malaysia so that was his involvement,” Año said.
The arrest warrant against Salic stemmed from his alleged connections with IS based from the case information provided by the International Police Organization (Interpol) that he has been funding terror plots across the world, he added.
Russel Salic pledged his allegiance to the IS and has been under the radar of the Interpol as early as 2014.
Salic has been “very active” on social media and websites operated by groups related to the IS, according to the military chief. DEMPSEY REYES