Top ISIS leader believed killed in Lanao Sur

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews / 16 March) – The leader of the ISIS remnants in Lanao del Sur was believed killed in a clash between government troops in Tubaran town last Thursday.

Col. Romeo Brawner, commander of the Army’s 103rd Infantry Brigade, said a team from the PNP Scene of the Crime Operatives was sent to Tubaran last Friday to check a dead body believed to be that of Humam Abdul Najib or Abu Dar, leader of the Dawla Islamiya in Lanao del Sur.

Brawner said the forensic experts took saliva and tissue samples from the body, one of the two militants killed in the fighting in Tubaran late Thursday afternoon.

He said a portion of the samples was given to United States forces in Zamboanga City for analysis.

“I was told the results will take more than one month. Until then, we cannot say categorically it was Abu Dar who was killed,” Brawner said.

Four Army soldiers and two ISIS militants were killed in the fighting in Tubaran town Thursday as government troops pursued the group in the southern mountainous portion of Lanao del Sur province.

Abu Dar assumed the leadership of the ISIS-inspired Maute group after its leaders and Isnilon Hapilon were killed in Marawi in 2017.

Brawner said all the telltale marks were present on the dead man’s body except for a mole and knife scars.

An officer who asked not to be identified said the body was wearing the same clothes worn by Abu Dar as seen on captured videos – black cargo pants and black shirt.

The officer also provided other details, like a Croatian-made caliber .45 pistol found near the body, a rarity among Philippine rebels.

“The residents and a group of former Maute fighters who surrendered told us the body was Abu Dar,” Brawner said.

“The samples and test will provide the answers if it is indeed him,” he said. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)