MARAWI, Philippines (AP) — The Islamic State group helped fund the monthlong siege of a southern Philippine city through a Malaysian militant who was reportedly killed by troops, the Philippine military chief said Friday.
Gen. Eduardo Ano told The Associated Press that Malaysian Mahmud bin Ahmad reportedly channeled more than $600,000 from the IS group 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. A local militant leader, Omarkhayam Maute, also is 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, Ano 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.
Two other rebel leaders, top Filipino militant suspect Isnilon Hapilon and Maute’s brother, Abdullah, were still fighting in Marawi, Ano said.
A former Malaysian university professor who became radicalized and received training in Afghanistan, Mahmud appeared in a video showing militant leaders planning the Marawi siege in a hideout, a sign of his key role in the uprising. The AP obtained a copy of the video, which was seized by troops May 23.
A month ago, about 500 local militants, along with some foreign fighters, stormed into Marawi, a bastion of the Islamic faith in the south of the predominantly Roman Catholic nation. Troops since then have killed about 280 gunmen, recovered nearly 300 assault firearms and regained control of 85 buildings. Many of the…