MANILA, Philippines – Philippine and US officials say the little-known warlord has been named a new leader of the Islamic state group in the southern Philippines.
The Philippine Interior Secretary says the rise of Hatib Hajan Sawajayan (SAWA & jahn) shows that ISIS will give up desperately to any militants who can provide shelter and armed fighters as their last fortresses collapse in Syria .
Interior Minister Eduardo Anno says intelligence shows that Sawajan, the commander of Yolo, the brutal extremist group of Abu Sayyaf in the 1960s, was installed as head of ISIS at a ceremony last year. He says three other extremist groups have also been recognized as allies of Isis.
Sawajan is accused of organizing a suicide bombing in the cathedral last month, killing 23 people on Yolo Island.