Malaysian said to be new ISIS 'emir' in South-east Asia

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MANILA: A Malaysian terrorist with long combat experience in the southern Philippine island of Mindanao is the new "emir" of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in South-east Asia, the Philippines' police chief said yesterday.

Sabahan Mohammad Amin Baco, 31, replaced Isnilon Hapilon, 51, who was killed as the five-months-long conflict between Philippine troops and Muslim militants for Marawi city in Mindanao drew to a close.

"Amin Baco is now the leader... emir of South-east Asia ISIS," Director-General Ronaldo de la Rosa said.

Deputy Director-General Rolando Mendez said Baco is "one of the most experienced terrorists" in the Philippines, plotting attacks and providing combat training to local militants for years.

Baco was an operative of the Malaysia-based Jemaah Islamiyah terror group.

Intelligence sources said he was trained by fellow Malaysian Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan, one of the world's most wanted terrorists till he was killed in a police raid two years ago. Baco took part in the Marawi attack, but it wasn't clear if he had fled or was still leading stragglers there.