Abu Sayyaf

Abu Sayyaf (/ˈɑːbuː sɑːˈjɑːf/ (listen); Arabic: جماعة أبو سياف‎; Jamāʿat Abū Sayyāf, ASG; Filipino: Grupong Abu Sayyaf), unofficially known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – Philippines Province, is a Jihadist militant and pirate group that follows the Wahhabi doctrine of Sunni Islam. It is based in and around Jolo and Basilan islands in the southwestern part of the Philippines, where for more than four decades, Moro groups have been engaged in an insurgency seeking to make the province independent. The group is considered violent and was responsible for the Philippines' worst terrorist attack, the bombing of Superferry 14 in 2004, which killed 116 people. The name of the group is derived from the Arabic abu (Arabic: أبو‎) ("father of"), and sayyaf (Arabic: سيّاف‎) ("swordsmith"). As of 2012, the group was estimated to have between 200 and 400 members, down from 1,250 in 2000. They use mostly improvised explosive devices, mortars and automatic rifles. Since its inception in 1991, the group has carried out bombings, kidnappings, assassinations and extortion. They have been involved in criminal activities, including kidnapping, rape, child sexual assault, forced marriage, drive-by shootings, extortion and drug trafficking. The goals of the group "appear to have alternated over time between criminal objectives and a more ideological intent". The group has been designated as a terrorist group by Australia, Canada, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States. From 15 January 2002 – 24 February 2015, fighting Abu Sayyaf became a mission of the American military's Operation Enduring Freedom and part of the Global War on Terrorism. Several hundred United States soldiers were stationed in the area to mainly train local forces in counter-terror and counter-guerrilla operations, but, following a status of forces agreement and under Philippine law, they were not allowed to engage in direct combat. The group was founded by Abdurajak Abubakar Janjalani, and led after his death in 1998 by his younger brother Khadaffy Janjalani until his death in 2006. On 23 July 2014, Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon swore an oath of loyalty to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIL. In September 2014, the group began kidnapping people for ransom, in the name of ISIL.


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