MANILA (PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The Philippines security forces reportedly cut off a finger from the right hand of Malaysian terrorist Marwan, after he was killed in a shootout, to make sure they got the DNA of Southeast Asia's most wanted terrorist.
Marwan, whose real name was Zulkifli Hir, was killed on Sunday during an exchange of gunfire with Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (SAF) in Pidsandawan village of Maguindanao province.
Superintendent Raymond Train, the highest ranking officer on the SAF raiding team, had wanted his men to bring back Marwan's body, but that attempt was thwarted as militants of separatists Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) ambushed the team in large numbers.
As many as 44 commandos, eight of them in Pidsandawan, were killed in the ensuing bloodbath, the worst loss of life by the country's security personnel in recent memory, plunging the country into mourning.
Two versions of the DNA extraction report were initially received, the first saying the commandos had beheaded Marwan, and the second, cut off his finger.
But police director Getulio Napeñas, the SAF commander and an official from the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC) confirmed that the commandos cut off one of the fingers of Marwan.
"Finger, a finger from the right hand," said Mr Napenas, who has since been sacked because of the number of lives lost during the operation.
Superintendent Train took the finger to Camp Awang in Maguindanao for DNA tests, the report said. Before withdrawing, a commando took pictures of the dead Marwan, sources said. The body was left in the hut.
President Benigno Aquino, in a nationally televised address to the nation on Wednesday, reported the death of the bomb expert from the Indonesia-based terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah.
Earlier, Murad Ebrahim, chair of MILF, confirmed in a radio interview in Cotabato City that Marwan, who had a US$6million (S$ 8 million) bounty on his head, was killed in the police operations. MILF has denied harbouring the terrorist, and has set up an investigation on the clashes which will affect peace talks with the government.
A classified report submitted to the PAOCC said Marwan's body was immediately buried.