new report has revealed that the Islamic State central command in
Syria has been steadily funding militants in the Philippines, helping
them seize the city of Marawi, arranging funding and carrying out
The report was
published by the Jakarta-based Institute for Policy Analysis of
Conflict, and listed examples of how Islamic State (IS, formerly
ISIS/ISIL) provided assistance for terrorist groups in Southeast
one example, it detailed how a top IS figure from Malaysia, Dr.
Mahmud Ahmad, collaborated with the terrorist group’s command in
Syria to receive funding and secure international recruits to ensure
Maute militants took control of territory in the Philippines.
in June, AFP cited a Philippine armed forces commander as saying that
IS had channeled $600,000 through the doctor. The report added that
he was also a peacemaker for two key Indonesian terrorist groups,
helping them to “temporarily
unite despite bitter rivalries.”
latest document comes after Marawi, in the southern Philippines, fell
into the hands of militants from the Maute group for several weeks,
after they seized the city in May.
militants raised the IS flag and announced they had set up a new
province of their "caliphate."
report, however, suggests that “direct
IS wasn’t the group’s main source of support for the Philippine
militants. While IS transferred tens of thousands of dollars via
Western Union, it mainly assisted with local recruiters and
fundraising in the country, it says.
the early days of operations, soldiers discovered nearly $1.5 million
in cash and checks in a Marawi house, but the home belonged to a
well-known lender and it wasn’t clear if the funds were for the
Rodrigo Duterte accused the Maute militants of drug dealing to raise
money, but did not provide evidence to back up the claim.
for local recruitment, this reportedly took place during 2016 across
university campuses in Mindanao in the Philippines, via Muslim
student associations and their alumni at Catholic institutions and at
state universities and polytechnic institutes.
recruits would take the oath of loyalty [to the terrorist group] and
then be asked to open a bank account, the ATM card for which would be
given to treasurer of the local cell, who often had several at once
in his or her possession,” the
in the name of IS also allegedly took place at Muslim charities and
‘dakwah’ religious centers, but the institutions were not
necessarily aware of it, according to the report.
30-page report is based on research from a field trip to Mindanao,
the island where the embattled Marawi is located, where interviews
were carried out with people close to Indonesian terrorists in the
Philippines, as well as intercepted messages from militants on
report noted that the Filipino jihadists have created an
international network through Telegram groups, with “their
reports from the field translated instantly into English, Tagalog,
Arabic, Turkish, German and Indonesian.”
assistance may increase the terrorist threat to neighboring
Indonesia, which has seen numerous IS-inspired attacks in recent
years, the research warned. The Indonesian government’s concern is
that about 20 Indonesian militants who have reportedly joined IS
forces in Mindanao will acquire the equipment and skills to carry out
attacks back at home.
report urges key Southeast Asian countries to step up security and
intel sharing, impeded by “the
deep-seated political distrust between the Philippines and Malaysia.”
integrated watch-list of extremists across the region” is
needed, because “as
of July 2017, for example, neither the Maute brothers, Dr. Mahmud nor
[high-ranking Indonesian militant] Bahrumsyah were on Interpol’s
‘Red Alert’ list of wanted terrorists.”
document said, however, that the first step should still be
liberating Marawi, as the seizure of territory there has lifted the
morale of IS-inspired terrorists across the region.
initial photographs from Marawi released over social media as the
ISIS assault began – smiling fighters hold guns aloft on trucks –
seemed to have the same impact as the iconic ISIS victory photos from
Mosul in 2014.
generated a shared sense of triumph and strengthened the desire of
ISIS supporters in the region to join the battle,”the