The Western Mindanao Command confirms that Maute leader Owaydah Marohombsar, alias Abu Dar, was one of the four terrorists killed in an armed engagement with the troops of the 49th Infantry Battalion in Tubaran, Lanao del Sur on March 14.
Authorities requested U.S. counterparts to subject the then-unidentified body to DNA testing when informants initially identified it as that of Abu Dar, believed to be the only terrorist leader who escaped when government forces took back Marawi in 2017.
Abu Dar is regarded as the successor of Isnilon Hapilon, the emir of ISIS in Southeast Asia who was also killed in Marawi along with the Maute brothers.
“His (Abu Dar’s) death brought to a feat our focused operations against beleaguered fighters of the Dawlah Islamiya-Maute group, but this success will not stop us from furthering our offensives to triumph over terrorist groups in our area,” said Lieutenant General Arnel Dela Vega, Western Mindanao Command chief.
“We, nevertheless, carry out our intense operations to pursue remaining rebels cowered by the resilience and resolve of our combat troops,” he added.
“Rest assured of our commitment and our cooperation with the local government and the people to realize the internal security and development in Mindanao,” said Dela Vega.
Also seized from the encounter site were an M16 rifle, an M653 rifle, a Caliber .45 pistol, two grenades, several magazines and ammunition, and cellular phones. On the other hand, four soldiers were killed and two were wounded in the clash.
Abu Dar is said to be responsible for bombing the Limketkai Commercial Area in Cagayan de Oro in 2013 where several doctors were killed. He was also responsible for killing several soldiers, policemen, and Christians in Marawi City and Lanao del Sur.
“We thank our US counterparts and the citizens of Lanao del Sur for helping us neutralize the last remaining leader of the Maute-ISIS Group in the person of Abu Dar. We will not rest until we neutralize all the other remnants of this terrorist group,” said Colonel Romeo Brawner Jr., 103rd Infantry “Haribon” Brigade Commander.
“With his neutralization, we are hoping that this would also finally put an end to the Maute-ISIS in Lanao,” he added.
“The neutralization of Abu Dar is a significant accomplishment of the government and the people of Lanao del Sur who worked together to rid their beloved province of terrorists. Meanwhile, we will continue our operations so that the sacrifices of our fallen comrades in pursuit of peace will not go to waste,” said Brigadier General Roberto Ancan, Joint Task Force ZamPeLan Commander.