Hunt on for Maute leader Abu Dar
COTABATO CITY — While seven Maute siblings involved in the siege of Marawi City were killed in the five-month battle, the military is still seeking a senior ring leader, identified only as “Abu Dar.”
Western Mindanao Command chief Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr. said during a Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) meeting that Abu Dar is a Maranao who was among those recorded on video plotting the Marawi siege.
The video, recovered by government forces during the siege, showed Abu Dar with siblings Omar and Abdullah Maute and Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon.
“He can likely assume leadership of Maute terror group,” Galvez said, adding that there were three other Mautes in government custody who have been charged with rebellion.
They are the Maute matriarch Farhana Maute, who allegedly funded her sons’ illegal activities, and two other sons.
The government also had custody of patriarch, engineer Cayamora, but he died of medical complications while in government custody on Aug. 27, more than two months after he was arrested in Davao City on June 6.
The authorities arrested Farhana on June 9, while she was transporting wounded Maute fighters through a Lanao del Sur town.
Mayor Dimnatang Pansar of Butig, Lanao del Sur, the hometown of the Maute clan, confirmed that all the Maute brothers were either dead or under government custody.
But several Maranaos who are also surnamed “Maute” have been held for questioning or have gone into hiding for fear of arrest.
Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Gov. Mujiv Hataman, who presided over the RPOC meeting, lamented that there were also “good Mautes” who had been ostracized by their own townmates.
“We will help them return to their communities but subject to coordination with the police and the military,” Hataman said.
ARMM Vice Gov. Alrashid Alonto-Lucman told also related that one of his daughter’s medical school classmates surnamed Maute was forced to drop out after the siege.
Speaking to the Lanao town mayors, Hataman said local government executives should take steps to prevent Islamic radicalization in their towns.
Galvez agreed and said failure “would give these violent religious extremists an issue they could use to generate hatred and entice prospective recruits to join their fold.”
Hataman also ordered the local executives to help locate Abu Dar who, according to military intelligence, is leading the regrouping of terrorists in Lanao del Sur.
“War is destructive. We have to prevent conflicts at our level first before we let the military come in,” Hataman said.
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