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Top Filipino militant previously believed to be dead is alive, and a threat: Military

Published on Jun 21, 2014 10:07 PM
Philippine soldiers in camouflage take positions as they execute a mock assault during a live fire exercise at a Philippine army training camp in Fort Magsaysay, in Nueva Ecija province north of Manila on May 10, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP 

MANILA (AFP) - A Filipino militant bomb-making expert who had been believed dead recently eluded a military raid of a Muslim guerrilla camp in the Philippines, disproving earlier reports of his demise, the military said on Saturday.

Abdel Basit Usman is on the United States government's list of most-wanted "terrorists", described a "bomb-making expert", and the State Department offered an US$1 million (S$1.25 million) reward for information leading to his arrest in 2009.

The Filipino press had reported in 2010 that Usman was among several people believed killed early that year in a US drone attack that targeted a Pakistani Taleban leader in a remote area of northern Pakistan. However, Philippine military officials now say that the reports of his death were erroneous.

Usman, who the Philippine and US governments say has links to the Jemaah Islamiyah and Abu Sayyaf group of South-east Asian militants, was seen in the camp of another armed Muslim group on the island of Mindanao, southern Philippines military spokesman Colonel Dickson Hermoso told AFP.

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