What network do the Philippines have

Keyword: Abu Sayyaf and the IS network

Abu Sayyaf, in English: "swordsman", is a radical Islamic terrorist organization in the Muslim south of the Philippines. The fighters had been active on the southern island of Mindanao since the early 1990s, where they were responsible for numerous kidnappings and terrorist attacks. The core of the group is made up of 200 to 400 members, with around 2000 supporters across the country.

The Abu Sayyaf terror group emerged from the "National Liberation Front of the Moro" (MNLF). The MNLF is a rebel group that has been fighting for an independent Islamic state in the southern islands of the Philippines since the 1970s. The members of the Abu Sayyaf rejected the moderate line of the MNLF.

In 1998 the leader of the Abu Sayyaf Abdurajak Janjalani died and the ideological orientation of the group became less important. According to some security experts, the terrorist group has changed and is now mainly pursuing financial interests. It was never a very tightly organized group, but rather a network with several leaders who gather under the name Abu Sayyaf.

The Philippines have been fighting anti-terrorism for years (archive image)

Criminal group

The government in Manila recently often referred to Abu Sayyaf as a "bandit group". In this respect, they have also been excluded from the peace process since 2014 because they have not formulated any political demands that the government could have responded to.

In Germany, the case of the Wallert family, who were kidnapped by the Abu Sayyaf in 2000, became known in particular. The family's martyrdom, which lasted several months, had been extensively reported. The hostages were released after the then Libyan head of state Muammar al-Gaddafi reportedly paid a ransom of US $ 25 million.

In 2014, Abu Sayyaf members held a German couple as a hostage in the south of the Philippines. The extremists demanded a ransom of four million euros and Germany's withdrawal from the fight against the terror network "Islamic State" (IS). Manila then sent soldiers and search parties to the island of Jolo. The German hostages were finally released on October 17, 2014. It is still unclear whether there were ransom payments.

In November 2016, the German sailor J├╝rgen Kantner was kidnapped by Abu Sayyaf. His beheading should now be seen on the latest video. Kantner's Swiss companion was shot dead during the kidnapping.

Contacts with other terrorist organizations

It is known that Abu Sayyaf has long had close contact with other Islamist terrorist organizations such as Al-Qaeda. The late founder of Abu Sayyaf, Janjalani, was a fighter in the Afghan civil war with the Soviet Union. Many Abu Sayyaf members were also trained in camps in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia.

Some personalities in the group, such as the commander Isnilon Hapilon, swore their loyalty to the self-proclaimed "Islamic State" (IS) in 2014. It is unclear how extensive the connections actually are. So far, the experts have assumed that Abu Sayyaf wanted to focus on the psychological effect with the declaration of loyalty to the IS in order to emphasize his own demands.