ARMED Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff General Carlito Galvez on Thursday, May 24, said the Maute Group is losing strength with the surrender of 42 members.
Of the 10 men who planned the Marawi siege, only Abu Dar remains, Galvez added.
“I believe the support of the Maute ISIS is waning because we have 42 surrenderees na ngayon, previously meron na tayong sampu but after the President spoke with them, ngayon it was doubled to 42 surrenderees,” Galvez said in an interview in Marawi City.
On May 11, 27 Maute members were presented to President Rodrigo Duterte during his visit to Marawi City.
Galvez said most of those Maute members who turned themselves in were included in the arrest order issued by the Department of National Defense.
He said 15 of the 42 surrenderers were from Lanao del Sur such as the towns of Piagapo, Butig and Marantao.
Galvez also said they were validating reports that Abu Dar has succeeded Isnilon Hapilon as the alleged Southeast Asia emir of global terror group Islamic State (IS).
“Our intelligence unit in GHQ (general headquarters) is not giving any definite answer yet so we have to still validate it, sa ngayon wala pa po kaming definite na conclusion kung talagang s’ya na (pumalit kay Hapilon),” he said.
“Si Abu Dar na lang ang remaining, sa out of 10 na nagplano dito sa siege ng Marawi, Abu Dar is the only remaining significant figure, all of the nine have been killed and neutralized already during the battle of Marawi. I believe sya na lang ang pinaka tinatawag natin na original na mga planners and organizers ng Maute,” he added.
(Out of the 10 people who planned the Marawi siege, only Abu Dar remains. Abu Dar is the only remaining significant figure. All the nine others were killed during the battle of Marawi.) (SunStar Philippines)