Members of a new jihadist group believed responsible for the bomb attack in Cagayan de Oro City late last month went through extensive guerrilla warfare training in Central Mindanao, according to a police assessment report.
The report, which was seen by The Manila Times, said members of the Khilafa Islamiya first trained in August last year in a farm somewhere in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur.
The farm was reportedly owned by Ustadz Human Abdul Najid alias “Jamal”, an Afghan-trained Islamic cleric who founded the group, the report said.
Najid is also among those personalities whom the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) has charged in connection with the bombing in Kyla’s Bistro in Cagayan de Oro on July 26.
Eight people were killed and scores of others were hurt in the incident.
The report said Najid was forced to use the farm for training after the Khilafa was kicked out from its camp in an area in Lanao del Sur controlled by a rogue Moro rebel group.
The group’s leader, Commander Bravo, asked Najid to move out because their activities could attract the attention of intelligence operatives, the report said.
In Najid’s farm, Khilafa recruits went through ‘specialization courses’ in bombardment, sniping and urban guerrilla warfare from August up to the first week of October 2012.
Police estimate that the Khilafa Islamiya has around 40 regular members, with a hardcore nucleus of eight.
Aside from Najid, police also filed charges against Mohammed Abdullah Ali alias “Abdul Rakman”; Salahudin Hassan; Khair Mundos and Ebrahim Zulkipli Bin Hir alias “Marwan’ in connection with the Cagayan de Oro bombing.
Zulkipli is a Malaysian bomb expert and a known Jemaah Islamiyah operative, and is being blamed by government security forces for several bombing attacks in Mindanao. He is also in the US State Department’s list of terrorists.
Military and police sources said Khair Mundos is the finance officer of the Abu Sayyaf and has connections with JI and Al Qaeda.
Salahudin Hassan is member of the Al Khobar which is said to be involved in several extortion and bombing incidents in Mindanao aimed at bus companies.