U.S. blacklists Filipino terrorist for working with ISIS

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 10) — A Filipino who supposedly worked with the international terror network ISIS has been placed under the U.S. Treasury's blacklist of "global terrorists."

Abdulpatta Escalon Abubakar "has served as a key facilitator for ISIS and its network in the Philippines since at least January 2016," the U.S. Department of The Treasury said in a statement February 9. 

Abubakar helped facilitate the transfer of over $75,000 (P3.87 million at the current exchange rate) to "ISIS's network in the Philippines" in at least three occasions, the U.S. Treasury added.

Abubakar, along with Yunus Emre Sakarya of Turkey, and Mohamed Mire Ali Yusuf of Somalia have been added to the U.S. list of "Specially Designated Global Terrorists" for their links to ISIS.  

"As a result of today's designations, all property and interests in property of these persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction are blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them," the U.S. Treasury said.

It said this is part of the U.S. government's crackdown against individuals and entities supporting the ISIS and its terror activities.

U.S. authorities said Abubakar in July 2017 worked with an ISIS member in the Philippines to facilitate the transfer of around $5,000 (P258, 235). 

During that time, the ISIS-inspired Maute group has already placed Marawi City under siege, resulting in a five-month war between government forces and terrorists.

Timeline: The Marawi crisis

Abubakar was nabbed by immigration officials in September 2017, when he went home from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) has yet to divulge Abubakar's whereabouts.

The U.S. Treasury said Abubakar also helped transfer $50,000 in August 2016, $20,000 in July 2016, "which may have been used by ISIS elements in the Philippines to purchase arms, through Abubakar."

U.S. authorities said Abubakar followed orders from slain terrorist leader Isnilon Hapilon in January and May 2016 to procure a huge amount of ammunition and arms and improvised explosive devices.

Hapilon, an Abu Sayyaf leader who pledged allegiance to ISIS in 2016, was killed in a firefight in Marawi in October 2017. The military believes he led the attack on Marawi along with the Maute brothers.

WATCH: Maute, Hapilon plan Marawi terror attack  

Abubakar joins thousands of individuals, including Filipinos, on the U.S. blacklist, an initiative that began in September 2001 following the 9-11 terror attacks. It was pursuant to an executive order issued by then U.S. President George Bush.