THE military is validating information that Abu Dar, the alleged successor of the Maute brothers who led the Marawi City siege, was among the four suspected terrorists killed in a clash in Lanao del Sur.
Colonel Romeo Brawner, commander of the 103rd Brigade of the Philippine Army, said four suspected members of the Maute Group were killed following a firefight in Tubaran, Lanao del Sur on Thursday afternoon, March 14.
He said they believe Abu Dar was among the four slain terrorists.
"We have four body count. We believe that one of them is Abu Dar based on accounts of our informants. One of them was identified as Abu Dar but we are validating this from other sources," Brawner said.
Three soldiers were also killed while three others were missing.
Colonel Gerry Besana, Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) information officer, said the firefight broke out at 5:04 p.m. Thursday in the village of Dinaigan, Tubaran, Lanao del Sur. It lasted for about an hour and 30 minutes.
Besana said the troops chanced upon 10 suspected Maute followers while on security operations in Dinaigan.
He did not release the identities of the slain and missing soldiers except that they belonged to the Army’s 49th Infantry Battalion. The remains of the slain soldiers were taken to Iligan City for proper disposition.
He said the troops recovered the remains of two slain Maute followers as well as two M-16 Armalite rifles with attached M-203 grenade launchers, a caliber .45 pistol, a hand grenade, a rifle grenade, several ammunition, and a bandolier.
Lieutenant General Arnel dela Vega, Westmincom chief, said the troops advanced on the enemy target with deliberate offensives, hitting and inflicting heavy casualties on the Maute group.
“We console with the families of our departed comrades, who fought valiantly and paid the ultimate sacrifice. We lost not only brave warriors but comrades who served the nation with such devotion,” Dela Vega added. (SunStar Philippines)