November 7, 2017

PHILIPPINES: A Malaysian Islamist Militant Has Been Named New 'Emir' Of ISIS (Nation of Islam) Global Caliphate Overseeing South-East Asia, Says Philippine Police.

The Star Online, Malaysia
written by The Straits Times staff
Monday November 6, 2017

MANILA - A top Malaysian militant with long combat experience in the war-torn southern Philippine island of Mindanao is the new "emir" of the ultra-radical Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in South-East Asia, the Philippines' police chief said on Monday (Nov 6).

Sabahan Mohammad Amin Baco, 31, replaced Isnilon Hapilon, 51, who was killed as the five-month-long conflict between Philippine troops and Muslim militants for Marawi city in Mindanao drew to a close.

"Amin Baco is now the leader, not just of the remaining Maute but as emir of South-East Asia ISIS," Director-General Ronald de la Rosa told reporters, referring to the group that supplied the bulk of fighters who stormed Marawi on May 23.

Deputy Director-General Rolando Mendez said Amin Baco is "one of the most experienced terrorists" in the Philippines, plotting attacks and providing combat training to local militants for years.

Intelligence sources said he was trained by fellow Malaysian Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan, who was one of the world's most wanted terrorists when he was killed in a police raid two years ago.

Amin Baco was staying near Marwan's remote hideout in Mamasapano town in Mindanao during the raid, but he eluded arrest, said Mendez.

Security officials said Baco took part in the Marawi attack, but they could not ascertain whether he managed to flee or is leading dozens of stragglers still inside the city.

De la Rosa said most of the new information about Amin Baco was provided by Muhammad Ilham Syahputra, an Indonesian militant nabbed in Marawi last week.

Security expert Rommel Banlaoi said Amin Baco presents a bigger threat than Hapilon or Mahmud Ahmad, a former Malaysian university lecturer who was Hapilon's No 2 but was also killed in Marawi.

Mahmud was regarded more as an ideologue and organiser than a battlefield commander.

Amin Baco, on the other hand, has had a long experience in fighting a guerrilla war. He is also adept at making bombs, a knowledge he has passed on to many recruits.

Besides Amin Baco, security forces are also hunting for 42-year-old Malaysian municipal council worker Muhammad Joraimee Awang Raimee and an Indonesian known only as Qayyim.

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