Manila receives offer to help hunt down wanted Singaporean terrorist

Singapore has offered to help in hunting down a Singaporean who is considered one of the most wanted terrorists in the region.

Philippine Foreign Minister Perfecto Yasay told Manila-based reporters in Singapore yesterday that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was given the terrorist's name, but he declined to disclose the name and further details.

Security officials had previously tagged just one Singaporean, Abdullah Ali, also known as Muawiyah, as among the senior leaders of the Jakarta-based Jemaah Islamiah. The group has been training Islamist militants in the war-torn southern island group of Mindanao in the Philippines.

Muawiyah was said to have fled to the Philippines with Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan, who was killed in a police raid in January last year.

"(President Rodrigo Duterte) had mentioned that on one occasion, our intelligence information showed that there was a Singaporean who was actively involved in terror and other criminal activities. We did not hesitate to, upon the request of the Prime Minister, give them the name of the person concerned. This will trigger a lot of areas of cooperation and information-sharing in the future," said Mr Yasay.

 
 
 

Asked what help Singapore was offering, Trade Minister Ramon Lopez said at the same news briefing that the city-state "has the technology, a software that really is quite strong in terms of intelligence, and I heard they are willing to share that technology with us".

Muawiyah was said to have participated in the 2009 abduction of three members of the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Philippine military officials said previously that both Marwan and Muawiyah were killed in an air strike in Jolo province in Mindanao on Feb 2, 2012, along with Abu Sayyaf leader Umbra Jumdail, alias Dr Abu.

Marwan's and Jumdail's deaths have been confirmed, but not Muawiyah's death.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 17, 2016, with the headline 'Manila receives offer to help hunt down wanted Singaporean terrorist'. Print Edition | Subscribe