Founding leaders of Maute trrorist group fighting the government forces, Omar and Mhade Maute, may have been killed in the ongoing military offensives in Marawi City, the Army said Saturday.
The news was relayed by Lt. Col. Jo-Ar Herrera, Joint Task Force Marawi spokesperson, during a news conference Saturday afternoon.
“We are validating this information but that is the report,” Herrera said.
Mhade was the one arguing with Abdulah Maute in a video that showed planning to invade Marawi City.
To date, a total of 58 government forces have been killed in the operation against the ISIS-linked Maute. The latest were 13 members of Philippine Marines, Herrera said.
One of the fatalities was a Marine company commander of the Marine unit that recovered P52 million cash and firearms of Maute.
Twelve other Marines were killed during Friday’s skirmishes, Herrera said.
“We are on the offensive mode, we are constantly moving toward the position of enemies, unfortunately we incurred several casualties, we are doing our best to re-strategize,” he said.
“The enemy has strong defensive positions, maximize presence of high structure buildings and civilian hostages used as human shields,” he added.
“We are making adjustments in our offensives,” he said, adding that air strikes were effective in the operations.
“We hit the logistical hubs, several command and control and communications and snipers’ nest of Maute,” Herrera said.
“We have so many head ways, we are close to their exact positions, lumalakas ang firefight,” the official said.
Reports of the Maute brothers of being possibly killed came after the news that their mother, Ominta Romata “Farhana” Maute, was arrested Friday afternoon in Masiu, Lanao del Sur, authorities said.
Farhana, who reportedly acts as a financier to her sons, was nabbed together with two injured militants and seven unidentified women was arrested after their vehicle was intercepted at Barangay Kormatan in Masiu town, Chief Supt. Reuben Theodore Sindac, regional police director of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao said.
“Two days ago, information was received from our [asset] that suspect was hiding in barangay Dayawan, Masiu, Lanao del Sur together with wounded members of Maute and it was revealed that Farhana was buying vehicles and firearms in the area to be used for their escape outside Lanao del Sur province,” the report said.
On June 7, President Rodrigo Duterte said the Maute brothers’ mother tried to speak to him but he refused.
Sindac said the Maute matriarch’s group tried to hide at nearby Barangay Dayawan, also in Masiu, where they brought a vehicle and guns before they tried to exit from Lanao del Sur.
Ominta, along with his husband Cayamora who was earlier nabbed by the police, reared and sent their sons Omar and Abdullah to Islamic schools in the Middle East where they purportedly absorbed the philosophy of kital, an orthodox Arabian belief allowing killing in ideological stride.
Masiu town, a component of the first district of Lanao del Sur, is more or less 30 kilometers far from Marawi. With PNA