Abu Solaiman was among the highest ranking leaders of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), an Islamic fundamentalist group operating in the Philippines. As the chief of operations and logistics for the ASG, Solaiman, along with Khadaffy Janjalani, was responsible for the kidnappings and deaths of both Filipino and American citizens. He has been associated with the kidnappings of Martin and Gracia Burnham and two other U.S. citizens. Solaiman also took part in the beheading of Guillermo Sobero, another U.S. citizen. Not only did is Solaiman responsible for these attacks but he also planned and implemented many attacks against U.S. interests, such as the attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Manila and the Superferry 14 and Valentines Day bombings, which, in total, killed or injured hundreds of innocent people.
On January 16, 2007, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), acting on information provided by two very brave Philippine citizens, undertook operations to attack and kill Solaiman. This operation was successful and was only made possible by utilizing the information that these individuals provided the Philippine military. All of the information and assistance that was provided by these individuals was vital to locating, killing and later identifying Abu Solaiman. For their bravery and assistance, the Philippine citizens involved were paid a reward totaling $5 million (245 million pesos) by the U.S. Government in a public ceremony presided over by U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines on the island of Jolo on June 7, 2007.
The Abu Sayyaf Group was formed in the early 1990’s by Abdurajik Janjalani, older brother of Khadaffy Janjalani. Abdurajik Janjalani met the now deceased Usama bin Ladin in Afghanistan while fighting the Soviets and became inspired to start his own Islamic separatist movement in the Philippines. Establishing its stronghold on the southern island of Basilan, the ASG was founded with the intention of developing an independent Islamic state in western Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago. Since the 1990’s, ASG has carried out several bombings against U.S. and Philippine interests. In the past several years, ASG has also carried out several kidnapping operations in an effort to raise funds, targeting tourists and local business persons. ASG was designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the U.S. Department of State and continues to be a threat to stability in the Philippines.