Abu Sayyaf

Abu Sayyaf
Participant in the Moro conflict, the Cross border attacks in Sabah and
the Global War on Terrorism
The Black Standard of ISIL, which was adopted by Abu Sayyaf
The Black Standard of ISIL, which was adopted by Abu Sayyaf
Islamic fundamentalism
LeadersAbdurajak Abubakar Janjalani [2]
Khadaffy Janjalani [3]
Radullan Sahiron[4][5]
Isnilon Totoni Hapilon [6][7][8]
Mahmur Japuri [9]
HeadquartersJolo, Sulu, Philippines
Area of operationsPhilippines, Malaysia
Size200 - 400 (Estimated in 2012)(down from 1,250 in 2000) [10]
Part of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant

Philippines Government of the Philippines[12]

Abu Sayyaf (f/ (About this sound listen); Arabic: جماعة أبو سياف‎; Jamāʿat Abū Sayyāf, ASG; Filipino: Grupong Abu Sayyaf),[24] unofficially known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – Philippines Province, is a Jihadist militant group that follows the Wahhabi doctrine of Sunni Islam based in and around Jolo and Basilan islands in the southwestern part of the Philippines, where for more than four decades, Moro groups have been engaged in an insurgency for an independent province in the country. The group is considered violent [25] and was responsible for the Philippines' worst terrorist attack, the bombing of Superferry 14 in 2004, which killed 116 people.[26] The name of the group is derived from the Arabic abu (Arabic: أبو‎) ("father of"), and sayyaf (Arabic: سيّاف‎) ("swordsmith").[27] As of 2012, the group was estimated to have between 200 and 400 members,[28] down from 1,250 in 2000.[10] They use mostly improvised explosive devices, mortars, and automatic rifles.

Since its inception in 1991, the group has carried out bombings, kidnappings, assassinations, and extortion[29] in what they describe as their fight for an independent Islamic province in the Philippines.[30] They have also been involved in criminal activities, including kidnapping, rape, child sexual assault, forced marriage,[31] drive-by shootings, extortion, and drug trafficking. [32] The goals of the group "appear to have alternated over time between criminal objectives and a more ideological intent".[28]

The group has been designated as a terrorist group by Australia,[13] Canada,[14] Indonesia,[15] Japan,[16] Malaysia,[17] the Philippines,[12] United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom,[18] and the United States.[19][30] From 15 January 2002 – 24 February 2015,[33] fighting Abu Sayyaf became a mission of the American military's Operation Enduring Freedom and part of the Global War on Terrorism.[34][35] Several hundred United States soldiers were stationed in the area to mainly train local forces in counter-terror and counter-guerrilla operations, but, as a status of forces agreement and under Philippine law, they were not allowed to engage in direct combat.[35]

The group was founded by Abdurajak Abubakar Janjalani, and led after his death in 1998 by his younger brother Khadaffy Janjalani who was killed in 2006. On 23 July 2014, Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon swore an oath of loyalty to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIL.[7] In September 2014, the group began kidnapping people to ransom, in the name of ISIL.[36][37]

Background and history

In the early 1970s, the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) was the main Muslim rebel groups fighting in Basilan and Mindanao in the southern Philippines.[30] Abdurajik Abubakar Janjalani, the older brother of Khadaffy Janjalani, had been a teacher from Basilan, who later studied Islamic theology and Arabic in Libya, Syria and Saudi Arabia during the 1980s.[38][39] Abdurajik then went to Afghanistan to fight against the Soviet Union and the Afghan government during the Soviet war in Afghanistan in the 1980s. During that period, he is alleged to have met Osama Bin Laden and been given $6 million to establish a more Islamic group with the MNLF in the southern Philippines, made up of members of the extant MNLF.[40] By then, as a political solution in the southern Philippines, the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao was established in 1989. Both Abdurajik Abubakar and his younger brother who succeeded him were natives of Isabela City, currently one of the poorest cities of the Philippines. Located on the North-Western part of the island of Basilan, Isabela is also the capital of Basilan province, across the Isabela Channel from the Malamwi Island. But Isabela City is administered under the Zamboanga Peninsula political region north of the island of Basilan, while the rest of the island province of Basilan is now (since 1996) governed as part of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) to the east.

Abdurajik Abubakar Janjalani leadership (1989–1998)

MNLF had moderated into an established political government, the ARMM. It was established in 1989, fully institutionalised by 1996 and which eventually became the ruling government in southern Mindanao. When Abdurajik Abubakar Janjalani returned home to Basilan island in 1990, he gathered radical members of the old MNLF who wanted to resume armed struggle for an independent Islamic state and in 1991 established the Abu Sayyaf.[30] Janjalani was provided some funding by a Saudi Islamist, Mohammed Jamal Khalifa, who came to the Philippines in 1987 or 1988 and was head of the Philippine branch of the International Islamic Relief Organization foundation. A defector from Abu Sayyaf told Filipino authorities, "The IIRO was behind the construction of Mosques, school buildings and other livelihood projects" but only "in areas penetrated, highly influenced and controlled by the Abu Sayyaf." According to the defector "Only 10 to 30% of the foreign funding goes to the legitimate relief and livelihood projects and the rest go to terrorist operations".[41][42][43][44] Khalifa had married a local woman, Alice "Jameelah" Yabo.[45]

By 1995 Abu Sayyaf was active in large scale bombings and attacks in the Philippines. The Abu Sayyaf's first attack was the assault on the town of Ipil in Mindanao in April 1995. This year also marked the escape of 20-year-old Khadaffy Janjalani from Camp Crame in Manila along with another member named Jovenal Bruno. On 18 December 1998, Abdurajik Abubakar Janjalani was killed in a gun battle with the Philippine National Police on Basilan Island.[46] He is thought to have been about age 39 at the time of his death.[39] The death of Aburajik Abubakar Janjalani marked a turning point in Abu Sayyaf operations, shifting from its ideological focus to more general kidnappings, murders and robberies, as the younger brother Khadaffy Janjalani succeeded Abdurajak. Consequently, being on the social or political division line, Basilan, Jolo and Sulu have seen some of the fiercest fighting between government troops and the Muslim separatist group Abu Sayyaf through the early 1990s. The Abu Sayyaf primarily operates in the southern Philippines with members travelling to Manila and other provinces in the country. It was reported that Abu Sayyaf had begun expanding into neighbouring Malaysia and Indonesia by the early 1990s. The Abu Sayyaf is one of the smallest, but strongest of the Islamist separatist groups in the Philippines. Some Abu Sayyaf members have studied or worked in Saudi Arabia and developed ties to mujahadeen while fighting and training in the war against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.[38] Abu Sayyaf proclaimed themselves as mujahideen and freedom fighters but are not supported by many people in the Philippines including its Muslim clerics.

Khadaffy Janjalani leadership (1999–2007)

Until his death in a gunbattle on 4 September 2006, Khaddafy Janjalani was considered the nominal leader of the group by the Armed Forces of the Philippines. The 23-year-old Khadaffy Janjalani then took leadership of one of Abu Sayyaf's factions in an internecine struggle.[46][47] He then worked to consolidate his leadership of the Abu Sayyaf, causing the group to appear inactive for a period. After Janjalani's leadership was secured, the Abu Sayyaf began a new strategy, as they proceeded to take hostages. The group's motive for kidnapping became more financial than religious during the period of Khadaffy's leadership, according to locals in the areas associated with Abu Sayyaf. The hostage money is probably the method of financing of the group.[40]

Photograph of Jainal Antel Sali Jr. in 2006. Sali was later killed during a heavy gunfight with the Philippine authorities in 2007.[48]

The group expanded its operations to Malaysia in 2000 when it abducted foreigners from two resorts. This action was condemned by most leaders in the Islamic world. It was also responsible for the kidnapping and murder of more than 30 foreigners and Christian clerics and workers, including Martin and Gracia Burnham.[49][50] A commander named Abu Sabaya was killed in 2002 while trying to evade forces.[51] Galib Andang, one of the leaders of the group, was captured in Sulu in December 2003.[46][49][52][53] An explosion at a military base in Jolo on 18 February 2006 was blamed on Abu Sayyaf by Brig. General Alexander Aleo, an Army officer.[54] Khadaffy Janjalani was indicted in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia for his alleged involvement in terrorist attacks, including hostage taking by Abu Sayyaf and murder, against United States nationals and other foreign nationals in and around the Republic of the Philippines.[55] Consequently, on 24 February 2006, Janjalani was among six fugitives in the second and most recent group of indicted fugitives to be added to the FBI Most Wanted Terrorists list along with two fellow members of the Abu Sayyaf, including Isnilon Totoni Hapilon and Jainal Antel Sali Jr.[56][57]

Isnilon Totoni Hapilon, one of the FBI Most Wanted Terrorists who is a member of Abu Sayyaf. He was finally killed by the Philippine Army during the battle of Marawi on 16 October 2017.[58]

On 13 December 2006, it was reported that Abu Sayyaf members may have been planning attacks during the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in the Philippines. The group was reported to have been training alongside Jemaah Islamiyah militants. The plot was reported to have involved detonating a car bomb in Cebu City where the summit was scheduled to take place.[59] On 27 December, the Philippine military reported that Janjalani's remains had been recovered near Patikul, in Jolo in the southern Philippines and that DNA tests had been ordered to confirm the discovery. He was allegedly shot in the neck in an encounter with government troops on September on Luba Hills, Patikul town in Sulu.

Present time (2010–present)

In a video published in the summer of 2014, senior Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon and other masked men swore their allegiance or "bay'ah" to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the "Islamic State" (ISIL) caliph. "We pledge to obey him on anything which our hearts desire or not and to value him more than anyone else. We will not take any emir (leader) other than him unless we see in him any obvious act of disbelief that could be questioned by Allah in the hereafter."[60] For many years prior to this Islamic State's competitor, al-Qaeda, had the support of Abu Sayyaf "through various connections."[60] Observers were sceptical of whether the pledge would lead to Abu Sayyaf becoming an ISIS outpost in Southeast Asia, or was simply a way for the group to taking advantage of the international publicity Islamic State is getting.[60]

Other Languages
Bân-lâm-gú: Abu Sayyaf
Cebuano: Abu Sayyaf
čeština: Abú Sajjáf
dansk: Abu Sayyaf
Deutsch: Abu Sajaf
eesti: Abu Sayyaf
español: Abu Sayyaf
فارسی: ابوسیاف
français: Abou Sayyaf
한국어: 아부 사야프
Bahasa Indonesia: Abu Sayyaf
interlingua: Abu Sayyaf
italiano: Abu Sayyaf
עברית: אבו סיאף
Bahasa Melayu: Abu Sayyaf
Nederlands: Abu Sayyaf
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਅਬੂ ਸੱਯਾਫ਼
português: Abu Sayyaf
русский: Абу Сайяф
suomi: Abu Sayyaf
svenska: Abu Sayyaf
Tagalog: Abu Sayyaf
தமிழ்: அபு சயாப்
Türkçe: Ebu Seyyaf
اردو: ابو سیاف
Tiếng Việt: Abu Sayyaf