Report: Former UM lecturer-turned-militant killed in Marawi battle

Former lecturer from UM's Islamic Studies faculty Mahmud Ahmad (pic) was wounded in battle last month and is believed to have died on June 7. — MMOL graphics
Former lecturer from UM's Islamic Studies faculty Mahmud Ahmad (pic) was wounded in battle last month and is believed to have died on June 7. — MMOL graphics

KUALA LUMPUR, June 23 — Mahmud Ahmad, dubbed Malaysia’s most wanted terrorist, is believed to have died from injuries sustained from fighting the Philippine security forces in Malawi.

Singapore daily The Straits Times cited Philippine General Eduardo Año as its source, saying the 38-year-old former lecturer from Universiti Malaya’s (UM) Islamic Studies faculty was wounded in battle last month and believed to have died on June 7.

According to the general, Mahmud was suspected of funnelling over 30 million pesos from global terror network, the Islamic State (IS) to gain firearms, food and other supplies to finance the militants’ siege of the southern Philippine city.

The Straits Times reported Malaysian counter-terrorism authorities confirming Mahmud had been raising funds for the South-east Asian terror campaign, but could not confirm his death as his body had yet to be found.

Mahmud also went by the name Abu Hanadzalah.

He is one of five men sought by police for their alleged ties to terrorist organisations and was previously identified as a militant recruiter for IS, along with Mohd Najib Husen — also known as Abraham — the operator of a photocopy and stationaries shop in UM, and Muhammad Joraimee Awang Raimee or Abu Nur, a secretariat staff with the Selayang city council.

According to The Straits Times, Mahmud’s death if confirmed, would be a major blow to the IS seeking to expand its territory to South-east Asia.

He was reportedly the designated successor to Isnilon Hapilon, the South-east Asia wing of IS.

Mahmud had trained at an al-Qaeda camp in Afghanistan under Osama bin Laden while studying at Pakistan’s Islamabad Isla­mic University in the late 1990s before returning home to lecture at UM.

He reportedly ran away to the Philippines after his alleged militant ties were exposed in 2014.

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