Philippine military tries to confirm reports of the death of the leader of the Abu Sayyaf Group
Philippine military tries to confirm reports of the death of the leader of the Abu Sayyaf Group

Manila: On Monday, the military of the Philippines announced that it had learned of Radullan Sahiron's passing, the militant Abu Sayyaf Group's last top figure.

ASG was founded in 1991 and was initially heavily influenced by Al-Qaeda. Since the early 2000s, it has gained a bad reputation for murder, extortion, and kidnapping.

Between 2011 and 2018, the organisation was a significant cause of violent conflict, and in 2014, some of its factions swore allegiance to Daesh.

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Sahiron, one of the group's founding members, serves as its principal leader. He has a $1 million bounty on his head and has been wanted by the FBI since 1993.

Maj. Gen. Ignatius Patrimonio, leader of the 11th Infantry Division assigned to combat militancy in Sulu, told Arab News on Monday, "We have information (that Radullan Sahiron is dead)."

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ASG's former stronghold was the country's Mindanao region's Sulu province.

We haven't seen the body, Patrimonio continued. We have (made) attempts to locate his body, so gradually we are contacting his former colleagues and even his family members.

He is acknowledged as the group's last senior leader, and no one has emerged to take his place. so that it would result in the ASG's demise.

After the passing of Khadafi Janjalani, who had succeeded his brother and the organization's founder Abdurajak Abubakar Janjalani, in 2006, Sahiron assumed control of ASG.


Sahiron has never sworn allegiance to the militant group, despite ASG being known as the main Daesh affiliate in the Philippines due to some of its factions.


At least 21 of Sahiron's closest adherents had already turned themselves in earlier this year, according to Patrimonio, who claimed that authorities had received "a lot of reports" of Sahiron's death.

"There are reports that he is already sickly, probably due to old age," Patrimonio continued. He's probably in his late 70s.

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According to associate professor at the Anwar Gargash Diplomatic Academy in Abu Dhabi and expert on international relations Rikard Jalkebro, Sahiron's demise would give the Philippine military a chance to destroy the ASG.

"It could be a golden opportunity for the military," Jalkebro told Arab News. ASG's demise has already begun as a result of well-known individuals being apprehended, killed, and also surrendered. It's encouraging

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