Marwan student is new ISIS chief in Southeast Asia

Marwan student is new ISIS chief in Southeast Asia
PNP chief Director General Ronald Dela Rosa (centre) presents to media Mohammad Ilhad Syahputra (left) on Monday, Nov 6.
PHOTO: Philippines Daily Inquirer/Asia News Network

A Malaysian bomber trained by slain terrorist Zulkifli Bin Hir or "Marwan" is the new chief of Islamic State (ISIS) in Southeast Asia, top police officials confirmed Monday.

"He assumed the position of Isnilon Hapilon as the emir of ISIS Southeast Asia," Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa said in a press conference at Camp Crame.

Deputy Director General Fernando Mendez Jr., PNP's deputy chief for operations, said that after the death of Hapilon, a certain "Baco" was elected by the members as the new leader.

Dela Rosa and Mendez said the information on the new ISIS leadership came from Mohammad Ilham Syahputra, an alleged Indonesian terrorist who took part in the Maute-led siege in Marawi City.

Police officials presented Syahputra to media on Monday.

"Baco is one of the longest staying terrorist in the Philippines. He's with Marwan for a long time so isa siya sa pinaka experienced na foreign terrorist fighters in Philippines," Mendez said.

Although he had close ties with Marwan, Mendez said Baco was far from Marwan's hideout the latter was killed during the ill-fated police operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, in January 2015.

Mendez and Dela Rosa were among the members of PNP's Board of Inquiry that probed the Mamasapano incident that led to the death of 44 Special Action Force (SAF) commandos.

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