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Cayetano: E-mails bare Marwan’s MILF ties

By: - Deputy Day Desk Chief / @TJBurgonioINQ
/ 03:31 AM February 17, 2015
Senator Alan Peter Cayetano.   INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

Senator Alan Peter Cayetano. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines–The e-mails of Jemaah Islamiyah bomber Zulkifli bin Hir, alias “Marwan,” to his brother detailing his activities in Mindanao might have given away his ties to a Moro rebel group, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano said on Monday.

In one of their exchanges from 2006 to 2007, Marwan recounted to his brother Rahmat that Special Action Force (SAF) troopers raided his hideout, but were repulsed by Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) guerrillas.

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“It’s becoming more and more clear that Marwan has an intimate relationship with the MILF and their claim that they don’t know or are not protecting Marwan is a falsehood,” Cayetano told reporters.

The senator furnished reporters copies of the charge sheet against the brothers filed in the United States District Court in the Northern District of California in August 2007.

The US District Court issued warrants for the arrest of the brothers for conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists and for providing material support to terrorists.

In the charge sheet, they were identified as “Zulkifli Abdhir, a Malaysian believed to be living in the Philippines, and Rahmat Abdhir, an American citizen living in the Northern District of California.”

Global terrorist

In September 2003, the United States named Marwan a “specially designated global terrorist,” prohibiting him from giving or receiving donations.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation confirmed that it was Marwan who was killed by the SAF commandos in a predawn raid on his hideout in Mamasapano, Maguindanao province, on Jan. 25.

Marwan’s DNA sample matched that of Rahmat, now detained in the United States.

Outside MILF areas

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Forty-four SAF members were later killed in a clash with guerrillas from the MILF and its breakaway group, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, while withdrawing after taking down Marwan.

MILF chief peace negotiator Mohagher Iqbal denied coddling Marwan or his Filipino deputy, Basit Usman, who escaped during the SAF raid.

“The MILF has no links with these terrorists and terrorist organizations. Marwan and Usman were in areas outside the MILF-controlled areas,” Iqbal told senators on Thursday.

According to the indictment sheet, the brothers communicated often in Bahasa Malay by e-mail. They avoided using their real names, and referred to Marwan as “Hulagu,” “Holago” or “Lagu.”

Often, the subject of the e-mails was the items that Marwan wanted his brother to send him from the United States, such as accessories for firearms, backpacks, Insignia two-way radios, knives and arms publications.

Codes

They also used codes for the items: “iron” for firearms, “dogs” for government agents and “presents” for bombs or improvised explosive devices.

Rahmat also wired money to Marwan for the purchase of firearms, using false names, false addresses and various bank accounts in the Philippines.

Marwan updated his US-based brother on the “battles that were occurring in the region where Zulkifli Abdhir was located between troops of the Philippine government and individuals or groups who were actively protecting Zulkifli Abdhir, including, but not limited to elements of the MILF,” the charge sheet said.

US drones

He also reported on the US involvement in the conflicts “through the use of Orion spy planes and Predator drones,” it added.

Both updated each other by sharing news stories and Internet links that reported details about the conflict in Mindanao and elsewhere, and about Marwan being a “wanted fugitive” in the Philippines, the document said.

The document cited their exchanges of e-mails from June 2006 to July 2007 that showed “overt acts” in furtherance of conspiracy.

Six-day battle

The first cited was a June, 29, 2006, e-mail from Marwan to Rahmat: “Earlier, a commander called to inform me that the person who hosted me last year has died a martyr. There has been a battle at his location for six days, and it is still not over yet. The guy was young—I think he was about 45. His eldest child is 18 years old. His son-in-law is a friend of mine.”

Rahmat e-mailed back the next day: “War against who? Is it far from your location?”

On the same day, Marwan replied: “It is a war against the government troops. It was on the news last night; twenty government troops died, as well as five MILF soldiers. A friend of mine told me that two were martyred and twenty government troops died.”

“The fighting is still going on until now. I can hear it from my location. It started early morning from six o’clock until the evening. I think it has been going on for eight days now,” he continued.

Since the government and the rebel group ended a ceasefire in September 2006, hostilities had flared up in Mindanao, according to the document.

Interestingly, on Aug. 11, 2006, Marwan e-mailed his brother to report that a SAF squad, armed with M-4s, M-60 and 9mm pistols and night vision goggles, surrounded the home of “Lagu” to capture him.

“His house was broken into and the door got torn off. His wife and child were able to get out before the exchange of fire. Three of Lagu’s neighbors with Armalite rifles were able to assist until the attacking commandos withdrew,” he said.

Two commandos, including the team leader, were killed, he added.

Rahmat inquired: “Yeah, I’ve read it. Had Lagu not gone to bed yet at that time? Was he home or not?”

Marwan replied: “Was asleep already, in the house, protected by Allah. The people there took all of the spoils of war. Man! The rifles were new, the latest.”

Rahmat later e-mailed him a Jakarta Morning Post story on the incident “which occurred as the SAF was attempting to serve an arrest warrant for Zulkifli Abdhir but was engaged by the MILF fighters in a 30-minute gun battle.”

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TAGS: Alan Peter Cayetano, e-mails, Internet, Lifestyle, Marwan, MILF, rahmat bin Hir, Zulkifli bi nHir, Zulkifli bin Hir
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