Witness info behind Maute leaders' demise: Army

By Divina Suson

September 7, 2018, 3:43 pm

ILIGAN CITY -- Local residents acted as key informants in identifying the remaining members of the Islamic State-inspired Maute armed group that led to an encounter with the military in Lanao del Sur on Thursday, killing a soldier and three terrorists and two civilians.

Lt. Col. Edgar Allan Villanueva, the Army's 49th Infantry Battalion (IB), said Friday the clash in the town of Sultan Dumalondong targeted one of the IS-Maute's leaders, known as Mubarak Manalao.

"They were reported by the residents who frequently saw them in the area. Some of them were not known by residents," Villanueva said.
Manalao, who also goes by the name "Popular", was reported wounded during the Marawi siege, the Army official said.

"Itong si alias Popular ay may tama sa paa at nahihirapan nang maglakad (Manalao had a wound on e foot, and was having difficulty walking)," he added.

Villanueva said a soldier died during the clash, as well as three Maute militants and two civilians who were caught in the crossfire. The military recovered two M16 rifles, an improvised explosive device, 17 cellphones, and other paraphernalia from the clash site.

Col. Romeo Brawner Jr., Deputy Commander of Task Force Ranao, said two of the three slain terrorists were known sub-leaders of the Maute group under the command of Owayda Benito Marohomsar, alias Abu Dar.

In a statement, Brawner expressed condolences to the families of the civilian casualties.

"It is very unfortunate that our citizens have to go through this incident again brought about by elements of the Maute-ISIS group," Brawner said.

"We also express our condolences to the family of our killed soldier. He is indeed a hero who has paid the ultimate sacrifice so that our brother and sister Maranaos can live in a peaceful environment," he added.

The clash was the fourth encounter between government troops and Maute remnants, who still roam Lanao del Sur and neighboring areas, this year.

In January, government troops engaged 10 Maute remnants in Barangay Kalilangan, Masiu town, which left six soldiers injured.

In June, another encounter with a group of armed men, believed to be under the command of Abu Dar, occurred in Tubaran town. Hundreds of residents evacuated and temporarily stayed in the evacuation centers for days for fear of getting caught in the crossfire.

Army troops of the Joint Task Force ZamPeLan (Zamboanga Peninsula, Lanao) were on combat operation in Masiu last July when they encountered the terrorist group. A Maute member died while no casualty was reported on the government side. (PNA)