9 suspects arrested but Maute Group leader eludes arrest  

CAGAYAN DE ORO (MindaNews / 30 May) — The leader of Dawlah Islamiya-Maute group in Lanao del Sur eluded arrest when he received a tip of an impending raid by soldiers on Saturday but nine persons believed to have helped him escape were arrested.

Brig. Gen. Jose Maria Cuerpo, commanding general of the Army’s 103rd Infantry Brigade said Faharudin Hadji Satar (also known as Abu Bakar or Abu Zacaria), leader of Dawlah Islamiya-Maute group, and a small group of followers managed to get away when the raiders arrived in Barangay Paigoay, Tubaran town, a farming community some 58 kilometers south of Marawi City at about 1 p.m. Saturday.

Map courtesy of Google Maps

“Somebody sent a text message to Zacaria that the team of soldiers and policemen was crossing the rice paddies to the house where he was hiding,” Cuerpo said.

He said Zacaria was hiding in a small concrete house in the farming community.

Cuerpo said they arrested nine suspects who they believed assisted in the escape of Zacaria.

They were identified as Camaroden Tindug, 52; Sabdullah Sarip, 36; Oter Macaungun, 35; Alisood Dima, 52;  Sowaib Abdullah, 18; Saaduden Adapun, 30; Zaenal Abdulatip, 33; and Aleem Salih Pitiilan, 45 – all of them male and married – and Asnare Alisood, 20, male, single. All are residents of Barangay Paigoay.

Cuerpo said  two M-16 rifles, three M16 magazines with live ammunition, one carbine, two cal. 45 pistols, two base radio, six portable radio, six touch screen cellphones, seven keypad cellphones, one laptop, two USBs, one improvised explosive device, one cal. 45 fired cartridge, one cal. 45 slug,  wallets and money amounting to 1,900 pesos and propaganda materials of Dawlah Islamiyah  were recovered in the house where Zacaria was hiding.

“These are the people who fired at the troops and policemen as they crossed the paddies, giving time for Zacaria to escape,” Cuerpo said.

He said the raid was planned to serve a warrant of arrest against Zacaria and one of his followers, Muna Kali alias Abu Dimam.

The 43-year-old Zacaria hails from Barangay Paigoay. He became the leader of the militant group after the death of Obwaydah Marohombsar alias Abu Dar who was killed by government troops in March 14, 2019.  (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)