Friday, May 13, 2011

Al-Qaida suspects hiding in Philippines

UPI Asia, Friday, May 13, 2011

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines, May 13 (UPI) -- Military officials say at least five suspected terrorists who had links to al-Qaida and Osama bin Laden are in hiding in the southern Philippines.

Lt. Col. Randolph Cabangbang, spokesman for the Western Mindanao Command, told the Philippine Daily Inquirer Thursday the group's "primary interest here is to train local contacts on bomb-making. Now there are reports they are highly mobile and trying to blend in the communities."

Vice Admiral Alexander Pama, commander of the Philippine Navy, said U.S.-trained engineer Zulkifli Bin Hir, alias Marwan, a Malaysian who reportedly trains the Abu Sayyaf guerillas in bomb-making techniques, is at the top of the list.

"The Armed Forces of the Philippines intensified its intelligence operation to locate these terrorists," Pama said.

Pama said another foreign terrorist hiding in Mindanao is known only as Mauwiyah.

Brig. Gen. Eugenio Clemen, vice commandant of the Philippine Marines, said Mauwiyah was last reported to be in Sulu.

"We gathered that he managed to blend in the community and the last report we got is that this terrorist is engaged in seaweed farming in Sulu," Clemen said. "Our intelligence operatives are tracking his exact whereabouts but [the] latest report indicated he is still in Sulu."

Bin Laden was killed May 2 by a U.S. force in Pakistan. His death could trigger renewed activity by the terrorists hiding in the Philippines, Pama said.

Cabangbang said the military has renewed its efforts to capture the suspected terrorists. He identified the others as Indonesians known only as Saad and Qayyim and Amin Baco, a Malaysian.

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