KOTA KINABALU: Suspected Malaysian militant Mohd Amin Baco, said to be the leader of the remaining terrorist raiders holed up in the southern Philippine city of Marawi, has been cornered in a building by the Philippine military, FMT has learned.
A source in Marawi said the Philippine armed forces are currently negotiating a surrender with the Islamist militants through Amin.
Western Mindanao Command chief Lt Gen Carlito Galvez was reported today as saying that Amin and an Indonesian fighter named Ibnu Kayin were still resisting government troops, along with the “straggling” local militants.
Amin, a Sabahan, was reported to have been a member of the outlawed Darul Islam Sabah group in the state’s coastal district of Tawau before he left to join the Abu Sayyaf terror group in southern Philippines some years back.
Galvez said the military were also tracking three sons of Isnilon Hapilon, the Islamic State’s emir-designate for Southeast Asia who was killed in an ambush by troops on Oct 16, as well as some other foreign militants who were still at large.
According to reports, the military intends to clear the last building used as a hideout of the militants today.
FMT had on Friday reported a former hostage in the Marawi siege as saying that a boy, aged about 13, was seen fighting against government troops alongside his Malaysian militant father.
Malaysian police said it would investigate the matter and the Philippine authorities have been mum on the issue.
A few militants have remained in the city following the killings of Isnilon and Omar Maute, co-founder of the Maute militant group.
Both the Islamic State-backed Abu Sayyaf and Maute groups were reported to be responsible for the protracted siege on the city which began after their combatants launched attacks there in May.
More than 1,000 people, mostly militants, have been killed in clashes between the militants and government troops.