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Military: 2 JI members present in Abu Sayyaf lair during air strikes

Two suspected members of the Southeast Asian terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) were present at the camp of the local bandit group Abu Sayyaf during Sunday’s air strikes launched by the military in Sulu province, a Mindanao-based military official said Monday.

Brig. Gen. Romeo Tanalgo, commander of the Marine forces in the province, confirmed reports that two JI operatives — Malaysian Zulkifli Bin Hir, alias Marwan, and Singaporean Mauwiyah — were at the lair when the air strikes were conducted.

Bin Hir is on the United States list of most wanted terrorist and has a $5-million reward for his capture, while Mauwiyah is a seaweed farmer who has supposedly been hiding in Sulu.

Last month, the government confirmed that the JI is “working closely" with the Abu Sayyaf group, which has been blamed for various kidnap-for-ransom and bombing activities in the southern Philippine island of Mindanao, as well as in Metro Manila.

Lt. Col. Randolph Cabangbang, spokesman of the military’s Western Mindanao Command, meanwhile, identified the Abu Sayyaf sub-leaders earlier reported killed during Sunday’s air strikes as Ben Wagas and Apo Mike.

Another bandit, identified as Abu Abad, also died during the military offensive, Cabangbang.

He added that authorities are still confirming the death of two other Abu Sayyaf members, Sali Madarang and a certain “Andag." - Andreo C. Calonzo/KBK, GMA News
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