Radulan Sahiron

Radulan Sahiron is a U.S.-designated terrorist and the leader of the Philippines-based extremist organization Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG).“Abu Sayyaf Senior Leaders Designated,” U.S. Department of the Treasury, November 30, 2005, https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/2005113013165523877.aspx. Sahiron has organized several attacks on tourists in the Philippines—including Americans and Australians—and on Philippine law enforcement agencies.“Abu Sayyaf Senior Leaders Designated,” U.S. Department of the Treasury, November 30, 2005, https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/2005113013165523877.aspx. The FBI has classified Sahiron as a wanted terrorist, and the U.S. Department of State has offered up to $1 million for information leading to his arrest or capture.“Radullan Sahiron,” U.S. Department of State Rewards for Justice, accessed March 23, 2016, https://www.rewardsforjustice.net/english/radullan_sahiron.html.

In the 1970s, Sahiron injured his right arm during a battle with Philippine security forces, leading to the amputation of his forearm at the elbow.“Radullan Sahiron,” U.S. Department of State Rewards for Justice, accessed March 23, 2016, https://www.rewardsforjustice.net/english/radullan_sahiron.html. Sahiron became known as Commander Putol—“putol” meaning “cut” or “chop” in Tagalog—due to his missing limb.“NTG: Abu Sayyaf leader Raddulan Sahiron, tinuturing nang most wanted terrorist ng FBI.” YouTube video, 0:49. Posted by “GMA News and Public Affairs,” November 5, 2012.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g2tQltsIsq0. He is fluent in Arabic and Tausug, the language spoken by the Tausug ethnic group in parts of the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia.“Radullan Sahiron,” U.S. Department of State Rewards for Justice, accessed March 23, 2016, https://www.rewardsforjustice.net/english/radullan_sahiron.html.

Before assuming leadership of ASG in 2006, Sahiron held several senior positions within the terror group. As early as 1999, Sahiron was one of 14 members of ASG’s consultative council, the Majilis Shura.“Abu Sayyaf Senior Leaders Designated,” U.S. Department of the Treasury, November 30, 2005, https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/2005113013165523877.aspx. He also served in various military commander roles and at one time oversaw at least 1,000 armed ASG operatives.“Abu Sayyaf Senior Leaders Designated,” U.S. Department of the Treasury, November 30, 2005, https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/2005113013165523877.aspx.

According to the FBI, Radulan Sahiron has served as ASG’s leader since the September 2006 death of leader Khadaffy Janjalani.“Radullan Sahiron,” U.S. Department of State Rewards for Justice, accessed March 23, 2016, https://www.rewardsforjustice.net/english/radullan_sahiron.html. Sahiron is believed to operate from his home island of Jolo in the Sulu Archipelago, which constitutes the southern-most tip of the Philippines and is 600 miles south of the nation’s capital, Manila.“Raddulan Sahiron,” FBI: Most Wanted Terrorists, accessed March 23, 2016, https://www.fbi.gov/wanted/wanted_terrorists/raddulan-sahiron.

The FBI initially classified Sahiron as a most-wanted terrorist following his role in the 1993 kidnapping of U.S. citizen Charles Walton on the Sulu Archipelago.“Raddulan Sahiron,” FBI: Most Wanted Terrorists, accessed March 23, 2016, https://www.fbi.gov/wanted/wanted_terrorists/raddulan-sahiron. Since then, Sahrion has ordered various ASG bombings, including the 2002 bombing on Jolo Island that killed and wounded dozens of civilians. Sahiron and his subordinates continue to conduct kidnappings.“Narrative Summaries of Reasons for Listing,” United Nations, August 26, 2009, https://www.un.org/sc/suborg/en/sanctions/1267/aq_sanctions_list/summaries/individual/radulan-sahiron. In July 2007, the U.S. District Court of Washington, D.C., indicted Sahiron for hostage taking and issued a warrant for his arrest.“Raddulan Sahiron,” FBI: Most Wanted Terrorists, accessed March 23, 2016, https://www.fbi.gov/wanted/wanted_terrorists/raddulan-sahiron.

The Philippine Armed Forces and National Police have targeted Sahiron in several operations, engaging him in firefights in both March and April 2015. Sahiron was reportedly injured on at least one occasion, but evaded capture both times.“2 soldiers killed, 15 hurt in fresh Sulu clashes,” Rappler, April 9, 2015, http://www.rappler.com/nation/89409-soldiers-killed-sulu-firefight. He was also reportedly wounded in a March 2016 firefight with the military’s Joint Task Group Sulu.Roel Pareno, “Government troops searching for Sayyaf leader,” Philippine Star (Manila), March 20, 2016, http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2016/03/20/1564674/government-troops-searching-sayyaf-leader.

Sahiron’s late son Ismin Sahiron, also known as Abu Abdul Gawi, was also a member of ASG. Sahiron reportedly trained him to take on various leadership responsibilities. Ismin was killed during a U.S.-backed Philippine military offensive in August 2006.“Sayyaf leader’s son slain in Sulu clash,” Philippine Star (Manila), August 5, 2006, http://www.philstar.com/headlines/351087/sayyaf-leader%C2%92s-son-slain-sulu-clash.

In July 2014, ASG’s Basilan-faction leader Isnilon Hapilon and a number of the group’s militants pledged allegiance to ISIS caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.Michelle FlorCruz, “Philippine Terror Group Abu Sayyaf May Be Using ISIS Link for Own Agenda,” International Business Times, September 25, 2014, http://www.ibtimes.com/philippine-terror-group-abu-sayyaf-may-be-using-isis-link-own-agenda-1695156. Since then, Hapilon—who is ethnically Yakan from Basilan Island—has led ASG’s pro-ISIS faction.“Pro-ISIS Groups in Mindanao and Their Links to Indonesia and Malaysia,” Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict (Indonesia), October 25, 2016, 2-4, http://file.understandingconflict.org/file/2016/10/IPAC_Report_33.pdf.

United States

November 30, 2005

The U.S. Department of Treasury designated “Radulan Sahiron” as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13224.“Abu Sayyaf Senior Leaders Designated,” U.S. Department of the Treasury, November 30, 2005, https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/2005113013165523877.aspx.

United Nations

December 6, 2005

The United Nations added “Radulan Sahiron” to its Al-Qaida Sanctions List.“Narrative Summaries of Reasons for Listing,” United Nations, August 26, 2009, https://www.un.org/sc/suborg/en/sanctions/1267/aq_sanctions_list/summaries/individual/radulan-sahiron.

European Union

December 9, 2005

The European Union added “Radulan Sahiron” to its list of Natural persons.“COMMISSION REGULATION (EC) No 2018/2005,” EUR-Lex, December 9, 2005, http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A32005R2018.

The Philippines

March 8, 2006

The Philippines’ Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) required the Central Bank of the Philippines and all financial institutions to report any and all financial assets owned by “Radulan Sahiron.”“Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) Resolution No. 19 Dates 08 March 2006,” Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, March 24, 2006, http://www.bsp.gov.ph/downloads/Regulations/attachments/2006/cl03242006.pdf.

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