Terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan has been hiding in Mindanao under the protection of Muslim armed groups including the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) for the past four years and he even planned to bomb the convoy of Pope Francis when the pontiff visited the country in January, according to sacked Special Action Force (SAF) commander Getulio Napeñas.
In a prepared statement delivered during Monday’s Senate public order and dangerous drugs committee hearing on the January 25 Mamasapano clash, Napeñas said they had received information that the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), in coordination with Marwan, had planned to attack the Pope.
Marwan, the SAF commander added, was supposed to construct a bomb to be detonated as the papal convoy passed T. M. Kalaw Street in Manila on January 18, 2015.
“These reports were not confirmed, neither [were they]admitted nor denied by the PNP [Philippine National Police]. The fact, however, remains that there exists this information,” he said.
Napeñas added that based on intelligence report, Marwan hid in Mindanao under the protection of the MILF, Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).
While in hiding,the Malaysian terrorist trained local jihadist volunteers.
The reports said Marwan trained at least 3,000 people on use, detonation and building of explosives with the help of Abdul Basit Usman, a Filipino.
“Just a couple of days ago, there were also reports that no less than 30 of Marwan’s ‘students’ were roaming Central Mindanao ready to create widespread terror and panic using improvised explosive devices,” Napeñas said.