A leader of the terrorist Maute Group has taken over as the new emir or commander of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) Southeast Asia, the military said Thursday.
It identified the new ISIS official as Abu Zacariah (real name Faharudin Hadji Satar) who took over ISIS Southeast Asia last year, according to Brig. Gen. Jose Maria Cuerpo II, commander of the Army’s 103rd Brigade.
Zacariah has standing arrest warrants for kidnapping, arson, murder and frustrated murder, Cuerpo said.
“We received information that Abu Zacariah had been designated as emir of ISIS Southeast Asia. We have evidence on that,” he said, adding “he was among those who joined the Marawi siege but got out during the early stage of the fighting.”
The Maute group laid siege on Marawi City in May 2017 which lasted five months that claimed the lives of 168 soldiers and policemen, 47 civilians and 1,000 terrorists including then ISIS-Southeast Asia emir Isnilon Hapilon.
Zacariah was among at least 60 terrorists inside the camp of the Maute Group that was assaulted by government troops and military bomber planes in Maguing town in Lanao del Sur Tuesday this week.
Cuerpo said the fighting killed seven Maute members, one soldier, and left four others injured.
Authorities said they received reports that Zacariah was planning atrocities during the Ramadan next month and during the national elections in May, Cuerpo said.
But he said the military “in Lanao del Sur continue to intensify our operations to eliminate the threats and achieve our ultimate goal of establishing lasting peace and progress for the people of Mindanao. Our operations are very specific and surgical.”