MANILA: Military authorities on Friday confirmed the death of Furuji Indama, senior leader of the Daesh-affiliated Abu Sayyaf militant group based on Basilan Island in the southern Philippines.
Indama, who was wanted over his involvement in a string of deadly bombings and kidnappings, was fatally wounded in a clash with troops in Zamboanga Sibugay province, Mindanao, on Sept. 9, along with several other fighters.
Western Mindanao Command chief Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan confirmed Indama’s death, adding: “We have been monitoring his family — they already know he is dead.”
Vinluan said that local officials have offered a cash reward to anyone who could pinpoint the location of Indama’s remains.
The militant leader is believed to have been buried on an island in Zamboanga Sibugay.
Vinluan said the ASG leader had sent text messages to relatives asking them to pray as he was severely wounded and “might not last long.”
The following day Indama’s cellphone “could no longer be reached.”
Idama’s death was announced following the killing of another faction member in a clash with government forces in Basilan province in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region.
Indama was a close associate of the slain ASG leader Isnilon Hapilon, who was designated as the Daesh emir of the Philippines in 2016.
After Hapilon was killed during the 2017 siege of Marawi City, Indama was touted as a likely replacement. However, a report by the US Department of Defense later named Sulu-based ASG leader Hadjan Sawadjaan as the new acting Daesh emir.
Indama is believed to have plotted a suicide bombing at a military checkpoint in Lamitan, Basilan, that killed 11 people in 2018.
In April 2016, Hapilon and Indama led 150 Abu Sayyaf fighters in an attack on government forces in Tipo-Tipo, Basilan, killing at least 18 soldiers and wounding more than 50 others.
Indama has been wanted for his involvement in the May 2001 kidnaping of 20 people, mostly foreigners, from the affluent Dos Palmas resort in Palawan.
One of the hostages, a US national, Guillermo Sobero, was beheaded by his captors. Officials said the ASG leader’s death is expected to leave the militant group in disarray. Many members have recently surrendered to government forces.
In July, the military said that Sawadjaan had been killed, but his death remains unconfirmed.