SOME 12 members of the Asian-based terrorist cell Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) are operating in Mindanao along with members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), according to a member of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP).
The most prominent of these terrorists is Zulkifli bin Hir alias “Marwan,” a Malaysian, who the military claimed was killed two years ago during a military bombing operation in Sulu.
A source, who requested anonymity, said the other terrorists were remnants of a larger JI group.
Marwan and his group, he added, are operating in the provinces of Sulu, Lanao, Cotabato and Maguindanao.
“So they’re just a few. Some of them are in Sulu together with the ASG. We have a handful in Lanao and Cotabato and Maguindanao boundary,” the source said.
In February 2012, the military claimed that three of the most wanted leaders of the JI and ASG were killed in bombing operations in Sulu.
They were identified as ASG leader Umbra Jumdail, a.k.a. Dr. Abu, Marwan and Singaporean Abdullah Ali alias Muawiyah.
But the source said as far as the military is concerned, Marwan is still alive and this was confirmed by Khair Mundos, a key leader and chief financial officer of the ASG, who was captured two years ago in Paranaque Citym (Metro Manila).
The source said there have been reports of Marwan’s sightings in Cotabato and an asset of the military had even met him in person.
“There was really no concrete evidence that would show that he was killed during the military offensive two years ago,” he added. “So we cannot declare that he is dead but there is a lot of indications that he is still alive.”
Intelligence reports indicated that the JI members were training the ASG in bomb making and marksmanship.