MARAWI — Middle East-based terror group Islamic State (IS) helped fund the month-long siege of this city through a Malaysian militant who was reportedly killed by troops, the military chief said Friday.
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Gen. Eduardo Año said Malaysian Mahmud bin Ahmad reportedly channeled more than $600,000 from the IS to acquire firearms, food and other supplies for the attack in Marawi. Money believed to be from illegal drugs also funded the uprising, he said.
Mahmud was wounded in the fighting last month and reportedly died on June 7, he said.
But when asked by AFP for confirmation of Mahmud’s reported death, Malaysia’s Inspector General Police Abu Bakar said: “Not true. He is still alive.”
A local militant leader, Omarkhayam Maute, is also believed to have been killed in the early days of intense fighting and troops were looking for their remains to validate the intelligence the military had received.
Troops are seeking the help of villagers to pinpoint the spot where Mahmud was reportedly buried, Año said.
In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysian police chief Khalid Abu Bakar acknowledged that Mahmud was in Marawi fighting with insurgents but said he believed the militant is still alive. Malaysian authorities are trying to determine the number of Malaysians who joined the siege but said at least four may have been killed in clashes.
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