Philippines condemns Abu Sayyaf killing of Canadian …
The Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), whose name means "Bearer of the Sword" or "Father of the Swordsman" in Arabic, is a small Islamist group composed of several hundred young Muslim radicals fighting for the establishment of an Iranian-style Islamic state in the impoverished, southern Philippine island of Mindanao. The group has also been trying to expel Christians from Basilan Island, located to the southwest of Mindanao. Many ASG members were recruited directly out of high schools and colleges.
ASG was established in the late 1980s in Basilan Province, which continues to serve, along with the neighboring provinces of Sulu and Tawi-Tawi (in the Sulu Archipelago), as ASG’s base of operations. The group is also active in the Zamboanga peninsula, and its members occasionally travel to cities like Manila and Cotobato.
The Abu Sayyaf Group has longstanding ties with a number of Islamic fundamentalist groups worldwide, including . The Manila government believes that ASG is closely allied with , the mastermind behind the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, and with . (Yousef provided explosives training for ASG members.) Though ASG is largely self-financing through ransom and extortion, it has received support from Islamic extremists in the Middle East and may also get some financing from regional terrorist organizations.
German hostage 'beheaded' by terror group Abu Sayyaf …
ABU SAYYAF GROUP (ASG) - Discover the Networks
In 2004, intelligence officials in Manila intercepted explosives that ASG had plotted to use in two additional attempts to bomb passenger ferries departing from Manila. In March of that year, Manila police arrested four ASG members who admitted they were planning to blow up one of the city's busiest shopping malls. Moreover, Abu Sayyaf Group has, according to Kit Colliers of the Australian National University in Canberra, established “an urban assassination squad called Fisabillilah, or 'The Path of God.” Colliers has produced a detailed report on Islamic militancy and terrorism in the Philippines for the .
The Philippine government's efforts to combat ASG have been costly. More than 300 Filipino soldiers have died in the fight to eliminate the organization, whose central base is almost inaccessible, consisting of nine camps hidden deep in the forests of Basilan's Mohajid mountain.
Philippine Forces Arrest Six Abu Sayyaf Pirates
Abu Sayyaf (ASG) was once a force to contend with in the Sulu Sea, conducting regular attacks on merchant ships, tugs and fishing boats and making off with their crews.