EXCLUSIVE: PETALING JAYA: Militant Muhammad Joraimee Awang Raimee, who is believed to have been killed by Filipino security forces on Thursday, was a former Selayang Municipal Council officer employed on contract.
He became the most trusted lieutenant of Universiti Malaya professor-turned-militant Dr Mahmud Ahmad while hiding in the jungle with the Abu Sayyaf terror group in Basilan, southern Philippines.
The 42-year-old Joraimee was believed to be among 15 persons killed in aerial bombing as troops regained control of Bato Mosque, which was used as the Islamic State (IS) command centre in Marawi City, Mindanao.
Intelligence sources in the Philippines and Malaysia said that Joraimee, also known as Abu Nur, was confirmed to be among the dead at the mosque.
They said that Joraimee and other top militants were in the vicinity of the mosque command centre when Philippine troops moved in.
Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun, asked to comment on news that Joraimee had been killed in the Philippines, said: “Yes, this is what I have received so far. Am unable to give more details at this moment.”
Joraimee and Dr Mahmud were among the key planners of the May 23 Marawi attack with Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon and the Maute brothers – Abdullah and Omarkhayam – for the creation of a caliphate in South-East Asia.
Dr Mahmud, the “money man” who financed the Marawi attack, is said to have received more than RM500,000 from IS militants and sympathisers.
Joraimee is the third Malaysian known to have been killed in the Marawi city siege entering its fourth month.
Intelligence sources identified the two Malaysians killed in May as Abdurahman Asmawi from Kelantan and Dr Kamsa Yahya from Kedah.
On Friday, Philippine regional military chief Lt-Gen Carlito Galvez said that five top militants, including Abdullah Maute and two foreigners, were killed at Bato Mosque. He, however, did not identify the foreign militants killed.
Galvez said police had collected DNA samples from the dead militants to ascertain their identities.
He revealed that Isnilon and Omarkhayam were still holed up with the remaining militant in Marawi City.
Intelligence sources said Dr Mahmud and four or five more Malaysian militants were still in the Marawi siege area with Isnilon, who has declared himself as the Emir of the South-East Asia caliphate.
Contacted by The Star, Philippine military officials said they were still trying to ascertain whether Joraimee was among the foreigners killed.
Sidney Jones, a Jakarta-based expert on terrorism, told The Star that if true, the death of Joraimee indicated that the army was closing in on the inner circle of the Mautes and Isnilon.
“Joraimee worked closely with Dr Mahmud and may have helped with fundraising and financial transfers,” he added.
Did you find this article insightful?