Sayyaf ‘negotiator’ Muawiyah a dangerous JI member hiding in Mindanao

MANILA, Philippines – Muawiyah, the Indian-Singaporean identified by authorities as the one negotiating for the Abu Sayyaf bandits, is among the deadly Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) militants believed to be hiding in Mindanao and training local extremists groups.

Last year, Australian terrorism expert Kit Collier described Muawiyah, alias Manobo and Mohamad Ali, as a not so well-known JI member “but just as dangerous” as Bali bombers Dulmatin and Umar Patek.

According to Collier, Muawiyah is with Malaysian Zulkifli bin Hir, alias “Marwan,” another not so well-known but equally dangerous JI member. The two, who have connections with other Asian jihadists, have reporteldly become “freelancers” trying to establish relationships with local terrorists such as the Abu Sayyaf.

Marwan, who is reportedly staying in Mindanao since 2003, is a former member of the Kumpulan Mujahidin Malaysia, which is affiliated with JI. He was believed to be behind major bombing operations in Mindanao in 2007.

Muawiyah is among the freelancers that have ties with Darul Islam, an Islamic extremist group in Indonesia, and Mujahadeen Kompak, an organization under Darul Islam based in Sulawesi that is said to be funding terrorist groups such as the JI.

Muawiyah, reportedly married to a Maguindanaoan, began showing up in Mindanao in 1999.

Muawiyah and other JI members are hiding in the provinces of Sulu, Basilan, Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, Tawi-Tawi, and Maguindanao, according to Collier. He said these JI members were training local extremists like the Abu Sayyaf and a faction of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. Mindanao is reportedly tagged by the terrorists as their training ground in Asia.

Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda group in Asia has reportedly divided its main activities in Singapore and Malaysia where funding comes; Indonesia where operation is carried out; and in the Philippines where training of terrorists is conducted.

However, the link of the three divisions had been reportedly severed due to intensified manhunts against al Qaeda elements in Asia. The divisions are believed working on their own now.


Published in: on April 3, 2009 at 6:16 pm  Comments Off on Sayyaf ‘negotiator’ Muawiyah a dangerous JI member hiding in Mindanao  
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