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Most of the villagers stayed indoors. But after dawn one man stole outside. He drove to the army headquarters in Jolo, the island's main town, where he alerted military officers to the terrorists' route and their likely destination. The next day a Philippine marine reconnaissance platoon ambushed Janjalani in his jungle hideout, killing the al-Qaeda-linked terrorist and delivering what authorities believe was a crushing blow to Abu Sayyaf's morale.
That operation took place nearly 22 months ago. News photos at the time showed the informant, code-named Chief, with his face blotted out, posing beside the $5 million cash reward. Most people assumed he was headed for a new life overseas, where the terrorists could not find him. But today Chief, wearing sunglasses and a baseball cap as his only disguise, is sipping a soda at the home of a Filipino general on Jolo Island, not far from his village where he still lives. For the authorities, Chief's decision to stay is one of many signs that Abu Sayyaf is on the run. "They suspect me, definitely," he says of the Islamist group's dwindling membership. "They have tried to kill me. But I never thought of leaving Jolo. I know the armed forces will protect me. And if I leave, the terrorists will suspect me more. They will come after my family." Chief says he doesn't regret what he did. "I didn't do it because of the money. I felt it was my duty to protect myself and other people. My motivation is peace."