PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Three Malaysians went on a six-day mission to southern Philippines to set up an Islamic State-linked network in 2014 and never returned home.
Two of them - ex-Selayang Municipal Council officer Muhammad Joraimee Awang Raimee alias Abu Nur and former Universiti Malaya bookshop keeper Mohd Najib Husen alias Abu Anaz - are now said to be dead.
The mission leader, ex-Universiti Malaya professor Dr Mahmud Ahmad, is still alive.
He is high on the terror wanted list following the May 23 Marawi City siege in Mindanao.
On April 2014, the trio flew to Mindanao to arrange for military training and bomb making for Malaysian militants who would later be sent to Syria to join the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
Joraimee was the spiritual leader of Dr Mahmud's group which spread militant teachings and encouraged Malaysians to fight in Syria.
They had planned to return to Kuala Lumpur after their mission.
However, they did not fly home when they found out that they were on Bukit Aman's wanted list.
On May 27, 2014, Joraimee's employment contract with the Selayang Municipal Council was terminated for failing to show up for work.
He had been working as an administrative officer with the position of division head since April 18, 2011.
In July 2014, their faces were splashed across the front pages of the Malaysian media when police announced that they were among five suspected Malaysian militants linked to ISIS and Abu Sayyaf terror group.
The other two were Darul Islam Sabah members Mohd Amin Baco and Jeknal Adil, both from Tawau.
The five were closely linked with South-east Asia's most wanted terrorist Zukifli Hir alias Marwan who was killed in a gunbattle at Mamasapano in Mindanao in September 2015.
Dr Mahmud, Joraimee and Mohd Najib were most of the time embedded with Isnilon Hapilon, the Abu Sayyaf group leader in Basilan.
A year later, they took an oath (baiah) pledging allegiance to IS with Isnilon.
Intelligence sources described Dr Mahmud and Joraimee as "inseparable", adding that they met with every militant group aligned with the "Black Flag" ideology in southern Philippines.
They facilitated the travel of Malaysian militants to Syria after training in southern Philippines and used Sabah as the backdoor entrance or exit for militants.
On Dec 15, 2015, Mohd Najib, who is a bomb-making expert, was shot dead in a clash with the Philippine military before the Abu Sayyaf could carry out a plan to bomb a new shopping mall in Zamboanga City.
Joraimee and Dr Mahmud joined the Maute group to attack Marawi City. They were key aides of Isnilon who led the attack on Marawi City with the Maute brothers.