By Francis T. Wakefield
The spokesman of the Army’s First Infantry Division yesterday confirmed that Maute Group sub-leader Abu Dar has taken the place of slain Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon as emir of the Islamic State (IS) in Southeast Asia.
Maj. Ronald Suscano made the disclosure after the arrest of another Maute Group sub-leader, Abdul Nasser Lomondot, in Sta. Cruz, Manila last Saturday.
“Ang tumatayo ngayon, diba namatay si Isnilon Hapilon, so yung tumatayong emir or lider nila ngayon na pumalit sa kanya si Abu Dar (The one who is acting as, we all know Isnilon Hapilon already died, so the one who is acting as emir or and who replaced him is Abu Dar),” Suscano said.
“Actually, isa syang totoong Maranao talaga. Iyung parents niya is taga Lanao del Sur, iyung both parents nya. Full blooded Maranao sya, tapos I think doon din sya lumaki sa Lanao del Sur, dun sya nag-aral, dun din nag asawa, isa sa mga talagang kinikilala ng mga.. (Actually, he is a Maranao. His parents are from Lanao del Sur, both of them. He is a full-blooded Maranao and I think he grew up in Lanao del Sur, he studied there, he got married there, and is being looked up to as…),” he added.
Suscano, at the same time, revealed that when the Marawi siege began on May 23, 2017, Dar was present and was holding lots of money when he and other members of the terrorist group managed to escape from the MBA or main battle area.
“Based sa information na nalaman ko, nung paglabas ng Marawi, siya iyung may dala ng pera, siya ang nagdala ng pera palabas. Maraming perang nai-puslit nila palabas ng Marawi. Siya ang nagdala kaya marami silang pondo, sya ang may hawak. (Based on the information, I gathered he was the one holding the money, he was the one who brought the money out. There were lots of money that they managed to sneak out of Marawi City. He was the one who had the money that’s why they have lots of funds),” Suscano said.