Khadaffy Janjalani was among the highest ranking leaders of the Abu Sayyaf Group, an Islamic fundamentalist group operating in the Philippines. 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 and is also directly responsible for the beheading of Guillermo Sobero, another U.S. citizen. Janjalani has also planned and implemented many attacks against U.S. interests. Specifically, He is linked to 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.
In September of 2006 information provided by several brave Philippine citizens was used by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to engage and kill Khadaffy Janjalani. In the subsequent months, rumors of Janjalani’s death had surfaced but it could not be confirmed since the body had not been identified by government officials. In late January 2007, two individuals came forward with information regarding the location of Janjalani’s body and after DNA tests performed by the FBI, it was confirmed that Janjalani was in fact, dead. All of the information provided by these individuals proved to be vital to the death and later identification of Janjalani. 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 the 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.