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Terrorist Organizations and Other Groups of Concern

Rajah Sulaiman Movement (RSM)

Updated August 24, 2007

From: "Chapter 8; Other Groups of Concern," Country Reports on Terrorism 2005, US Department of State, April 30, 2006.

Description
The RSM is a Philippines-based Islamic extremist group comprising Christian converts to Islam, many of whom had embraced extremist Islamic ideology while working in the Middle East. RSM promotes the use of violence and terrorism against Philippine Christians and Westerners with the aim of turning the Philippines into an Islamic state.

Activities
The RSM has assisted with the terrorist plots of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in Manila and ther areas in the northern Philippines. It was involved in ASG's bombing of SuperFerry 14 in February 2004 and the February 2005 Valentine's Day bombings, according to Philippine security officials. In 2005, however, the RSM suffered several major setbacks. In March, Philippine security forces seized more than 1,300 pounds of explosives from an RSM safe house in metropolitan Manila. In October, Philippine intelligence agents arrested RSM leader Ahmad Santos in Zamboanga City and charged him with plotting to bomb high profile targets, including the U.S. Embassy in Manila. Two months later, Philippine security forces arrested another RSM leader in Zamboanga City. Philippine officials subsequently claimed that debriefings of these captives helped them thwart an alleged RSM plot to conduct attacks in Manila during the Christmas holiday season.

Strength
The exact number of members in the RSM is unknown, but the group likely has fewer than 100 members.

Location/Area of Operation
The RSM operates throughout the Philippines and maintains a significant presence in metropolitan Manila. Some RSM operatives likely trained alongside members of the Abu Sayyaf Group and other militants in the southern Philippines.

External Aid
The Abu Sayyaf Group and Jemaah Islamiyah have provided training, funds, and operational assistance to the RSM. Some Middle East-based non-governmental organizations and other sympathizers also may provide funds to the RSM.