MANILA, Philippines – Filipino and US officials say that a little-known militant has been appointed the new leader of the Islamic State Group in the southern Philippines.
The Philippine Interior Minister says the rise of Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan (SAWA-jahn) shows that ISIS is desperate to turn to any militant who could provide a sanctuary and armed militants while his last strongholds in Syria fall apart ,
Interior Minister Eduardo Ano says the secret service says Sawadjaan, a commander of Jolo The brutal extremist group of Abu Sayyaf in his 60s was used as ISIS chief in a ceremony last year. He says three other extremist groups have also been recognized as ISIS allies.
Sawadjaan is accused of carrying out a suicide attack in a cathedral last month killing 23 people on the island of Jolo.