JI and Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG)

Both Western and Southeast Asian media outlets highlight the strong relationship between JI and the ASG, the latter still making news even in the U.S. and Europe for targeting tourists for kidnap and ransom. ASG, known to have conducted vicious killings in 2014,“21 civilians killed in suspected Abu Sayyaf ambush in Sulu,” GMA Network, July 28, 2014, http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/372295/news/regions/21-civilians-killed-in-suspected-abu-sayyaf-ambush-in-sulu. continually harbors JI terrorists, such as now-deceased leader Marwan.“Marwan alive has serious implications: Trillanes,” ABS-CBN News, August 7, 2014, http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/08/07/14/marwan-alive-has-serious-implications-trillanes. According to Philippine Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, Marwan was one of the most dangerous terrorists in the world and topped the FBI’s most-wanted list. Agence France-Presse reported that ASG militants are harboring three Malaysian JI members who provide bomb making training to the group.Agence France-Presse, “Toll in Philippine clashes with Islamists rises to 26,” Daily Mail (London), February 28, 2015, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/afp/article-2973152/Toll-Philippine-clashes-Islamists-rises-26.html. This highlights one of the key features of the relationship: exchange of tactics and skills. For instance, JI fighters were trained in Afghanistan and Pakistan and in turn established a training camp at Camp Abu Bakr in Mindanao, Philippines. In summer 2014, the GMA network, a major Tagalog and English language news conglomerate in the Philippines, drew attention to ASG’s connection to JI during coverage of the ASG’s recent deadly attacks on over two dozen civilians.“21 civilians killed in suspected Abu Sayyaf ambush in Sulu,” GMA Network, July 28, 2014, http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/372295/news/regions/21-civilians-killed-in-suspected-abu-sayyaf-ambush-in-sulu.

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