WHAT WENT BEFORE: Who was Abu Dar?
MANILA, Philippines — On March 14, 2019, four suspected terrorists were reportedly killed in a clash with government troops in Tubaran town in Lanao del Sur.
Believed to be killed was Owayda Benito Marohombsar, also known as Abu Dar, who was suspected by the military intelligence officials to be the emir of the Islamic State (IS) in Southeast Asia.
Marohombsar assumed leadership of the Maute group after its founding leaders, Omarkhayam and Abdullah Maute, were killed in Marawi in 2017 and became the Southeast Asia emir of IS after the death of Isnilon Hapilon.
A native of Pagayawan, a fifth-class town of 13,000 in Lanao del Sur province, Marohombsar saw action only in skirmishes with government forces in the province’s Butig town before the Marawi siege.
Little is known about Marohombsar, who also went by the alias Humam. Sources who declined to be identified said Marohombsar served as spiritual adviser to the Maute brothers.
Marohombsar was also related to Moro National Liberation Front leader Faisal Marohombsar, who was involved in the kidnapping of five Chinese engineers in Carmen town, North Cotabato province, in 2001.
In July 2018, his wife, Nafisah Pundug, was arrested during a raid by the police and military.
After the encounter on March 14, 2019, Col. Romeo Brawner, head of the Philippine Army’s 103rd Brigade, said that American experts were helping Philippine forensic teams confirm the identity of one of the bodies.
It was difficult to determine Marohombsar’s identity by face because one of the bodies “was deformed,” Brawner said. —Inquirer Research
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