The Philippine government wants the US and the United Nations to blacklist a small group of Islamic converts, considered the country's most dangerous militants because of their financial backing and familiarity with Manila and other key cities, an anti-terror official said Thursday.
The Philippines doesn't yet have a list of outlawed terror groups, but if it did the Rajah Solaiman Revolutionary Movement would definitely appear on it, said Ric Blancaflor, director of the government's Anti-Terrorism Task Force, adding that Manila will cooperate with any governments that plan to ban the group.
The movement, believed to have about 30 members, has been linked to a number of terrorist attacks in the Philippines, including a February 2004 bombing that gutted a ferry, killing 116 people. It has been hurt by the arrests of its leader and other members but could still plot attacks, Blancaflor said.
The group has collaborated with the more well-known Abu Sayyaf, based on southern Jolo island, and Jemaah Islamiyah, a regional network allied with al-Qaida, in staging attacks and organizing terrorist training in the southern Mindanao region. It also has links with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, a large group fighting for self-rule in the south, Blancaflor said.