Maguindanao bomb expert on US wanted list
MANILA, Philippines–The US Rewards for Justice website describes Abdul Basit Usman as a Filipino bomb expert with links to the terrorist groups Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah (JI).
“Due to these associations, US authorities consider Basit to be a threat to US and Filipino citizens and interests. Basit is believed to have orchestrated several bombings that have killed, injured and maimed many innocent civilians,” the website said.
The US government offers a $3-million reward for information that would lead to Usman’s arrest.
Ahmad Akmad Usman y Batabol was born in 1974 in Labo-Labo village in Shariff Aguak town, Maguindanao province. He uses the alias Basit Usman, and is alternatively known as Basit or Usman.
Aside from Zulkifli bin Hir, alias “Marwan,” Usman has strong ties with other foreign jihadists, like the Indonesian terrorists Umar Patek and Fathur Rahman al-Ghozi.
Usman was the Moro Islamic Liberation Front’s bomb expert who orchestrated several bombings in Mindanao, such as the Fitmart Mall and Fitmart Department Store attacks in General Santos City on
April 22, 2002, which killed 15 people and injured more than 70 others.
He was also linked to the bomb attacks on Cotabato City’s Awang airport and Sasa Wharf in Davao City in 2003.
He was also believed to have orchestrated the bombings in Kidapawan, Makilala town and Cotabato City in 2006.
Usman broke away from the MILF in 2008, along with MILF commander Ameril Umra Kato, because of serious disagreement over the MILF handling of peace talks with the government. The MILF decided to pursue the way of peace even after the Supreme Court struck down a peace agreement with the administration of then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as unconstitutional.
Kato formed the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) to press the struggle for a separate Muslim state in Mindanao.
Usman now trains BIFF members in Central Mindanao in bomb-making.
Last year, Marwan, Usman and the BIFF reportedly pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of the Islamic State, the jihadist group that had seized swaths of Syria and Iraq and alternatively known by the acronyms Isis and Isil.
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