FBI Supervisory Special Agent: ‘Marwan’ Is Dead

by Joseph G. Lariosa

MANILA (JGL) – The Federal Bureau of Investigation in Los Angeles, California emailed this reporter early Maundy Thursday that Malaysian bomb maker Zulkifli Abdhir a.k.a. “Marwan” is now “deceased and has been removed from the FBI’s list of Most Wanted Terrorists.”

Joshua Campbell, Supervisory Special Agent of the FBI National Press Office in Washington, D.C. and Ari Dekofsky, Public Affairs Specialist of the FBI Los Angeles, California field office, quoted David Bowdich, Assistant Director in Charge, FBI Los Angeles Field Office, as saying, “After a thorough review of forensic data and information obtained from our Philippine law enforcement partners, the FBI has assessed that terrorism subject, Zulkifli Abdhir, also known as “Marwan,” is deceased and has been removed from the FBI’s list of Most Wanted Terrorists.

“The FBI’s case against Abdhir is one of many investigations the FBI has conducted in cooperation with our Philippine counterparts.

“Once again, the men and women of the FBI express sincere condolences to the brave officers of the Special Action Force who lost their lives while attempting to apprehend this dangerous fugitive. The FBI’s partnership with the Philippine National Police is among the strongest in the world, and we will continue to work in close cooperation with them to identify, disrupt, and dismantle terrorist networks.”

A check on the website of the FBI’s after this reporter got the press statement is still showing Marwan in the FBI’s List of Most Wanted Terrorists without indication that Marwan is “Deceased:”



Campbell, however, after being informed of the link, reiterated that Marwan “has been removed from the most wanted terrorist list and we have assessed him to be deceased.”

On the other hand, the latest posting of the FBI’s List of Most Wanted Terrorists now indicates that the architect of 9/11 terrorism, Usama bin Laden, has a caption of “Deceased:” notice: http://www.fbi.gov/wanted/wanted_terrorists/usama-bin-laden. This posting was removed, too, after the inquiry by this reporter.

Reached for comment by this reporter, a press staff of the U.S. Embassy in Manila about the status of Marwan whether Marwan is dead or alive said the Embassy is deferring to the statement of the FBI as the only office, which can make such determination.

Marwan, 49, an engineer trained in the United States, has been conducting bomb-making training for terrorist organizations, specifically the Abu Sayyap Group, operating in Mindanao. He has been living in Southern Philippines since August of 2003.

Marwan was the subject of a manhunt by commandos of the Special Action Force of the Philippine National Police, who raided his lair in Mamasapano, Maguindanao and shot and killed him after a brief firefight last Jan. 25.

Marwan carried a US$5-million bounty on his head, courtesy of the U.S. State Department’s Rewards for Justice (RFJ).

The firefight, however, alerted members of the Moro National Liberation Force (MILF) and MILF’s breakaway group, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), who were not informed in advance of the operation codenamed, “Operation Exodus.” The firefight resulted in the death of 44 SAF men, 17 BIFF and five civilians. BIFF, however, claimed that only four of their men were killed in the firefight, not 17.


Marwan is thought to be the head of the Kumpulun Mujahidin Malaysia (KMM) terrorist organization and a member of Jemaah Islamiyah’s (JI) central command.

Marwan was also indicted on August 1, 2007 in the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California in San Francisco with providing material support to terrorists, conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, contributing goods and services to a specially designated global terrorist, and making false statement.

His co-accused in the case was his elder brother, Rahmat Abdhir, a naturalized U.S. Citizen, who is currently serving time inside a U.S. prison, not in Guantanamo Base in Cuba as earlier reported, after Rahmat pleaded guilty to one count of indictment conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists in the offense ending Aug. 31, 2007.

Rahmat, 51, is currently detained at the FCI (Federal Correctional Institution) Lompoc, a low security institution in Lompoc, California. He is scheduled to be released on April 18, 2016.

Rahmat was indicted by a grand jury based on records unsealed on Aug. 1, 2007.

It was believed the exchanges of email messages between Marwan and Rahmat tipped off the FBI of the conspiracy being worked out by the Abdhir brothers.

In their email exchanges, Marwan wanted Rahmat to send him “accessories for firearms, backpacks, Insignia two-way radios, knives and publications about firearms” to the Philippines, using such codes as “iron” for firearms, “dogs” for government agents and “prizes and presents” for bombs or IEDs (improvised explosive devices).

Zulkifli or Marwan was either born on Jan. 5, 1966 or Oct. 5, 1966 in Muar, Johor, Malaysia. He speaks Malaysian, English, Tagalog and Arabic.

The bungled operation led to one of the biggest crises of the government of President Noynoy Aquino for involving in the operation a suspended Philippine National Police chief. The crisis could also jeopardize the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), which grants autonomy to some Muslim portion of Mindanao.

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