DNA Tests Confirm Death of Philippine-Based Islamic State-Linked Leader

A significant Philippine-primarily based IS commander was killed in a March 14 gun fight.

By for The Diplomat

U.S. DNA exams have verified the dying of a Muslim militant commander who helped guide the 2017 siege of a metropolis in the southern Philippines and was considered a key leader of the Islamic State group in the region, officers mentioned Sunday.

Inside Secretary Eduardo Ano stated the assessments confirmed that Owaida Marohombsar, who was also known by his nom de guerre Abu Dar, was just one of 4 militants killed in a March 14 gunbattle that also left four soldiers lifeless around southern Tubaran city in Lanao del Sur province. The Philippine armed service questioned U.S. authorities to ensure Marohombsar’s dying by DNA tests.

Marohombsar aided lead the May 23, 2017, siege of Marawi, which troops quelled soon after 5 months of ground assaults and airstrikes that still left much more than 1,100 persons, mostly militants, lifeless and destroyed the mosque-studded city’s industrial and residential districts.

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Most leaders of the attack were being killed, but Marohombsar survived with a massive total of looted funds and jewellery from Marawi that authorities feared he could use to rebuild the militant’s battered firm and plot new assaults. One regional official, Zia Adiong, stated at the time that Marohombsar escaped from Marawi with at the very least 30 million pesos ($566,000) in stolen revenue.

But troops hunted the extremist chief and his guys down throughout Lanao.

“This is one more milestone in our campaign to finish and defeat ISIS and neighborhood terror groups in the region,” Ano said, applying an acronym of the Islamic Condition team.

Ano was the previous armed service main who supervised the U.S.- and Australian-backed offensive to crush the siege of Marawi, which sparked fears that the Islamic State team was advancing its efforts to set up a foothold in the region.

Marohombsar’s killing will make it tougher for the Islamic State group to establish a agency existence in the country’s south, Ano mentioned. The southern Philippines is the homeland of the mainly Roman Catholic nation’s minority Muslims and the scene of decades-old Muslim separatist unrest.

“For now, his group is leaderless. We are checking who will substitute Dar,” Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana explained to reporters.

A Philippine military brigade commander, Brig. Gen. Romeo Brawner, reported troops would pursue the relaxation of Marohombsar’s remaining fighters, generally centered in Lanao’s hinterlands, not far from Marawi.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte positioned the country’s south below martial regulation to bolster initiatives by troops to eradicate militants who survived the Marawi fighting and go following their allied groups in other southern provinces like the brutal Abu Sayyaf group in Sulu province.

Marohombsar’s dying will very likely reinforce the regulate of Abu Sayyaf chief Hajan Sawadjaan, who is dependent in Sulu’s jungles, about a amount of Islamic Condition team-joined armed groups in the south. Ano has explained that Sawadjaan was set up as the new IS-aligned chief in the southern Philippines but that Marohombsar’s group was adamant to recognize him as its regional leader.

A Philippine law enforcement profile explained Marohombsar was noted to have been through navy and explosives coaching in Afghanistan in 2005 and returned to the south a number of yrs afterwards and founded an armed team called the Khilafa Islamiyyah Mindanao.

The group was implicated in the 2013 bombing of a bar in a procuring shopping mall in southern Cagayan de Oro metropolis that remaining several people useless and wounded.

Numerous a lot more teams in the south pledged allegiance to the Islamic Point out team the pursuing a long time, making it possible for them to consolidate under the IS flag in 2015 and 2016 with then-Abu Sayyaf commander Isnilon Hapilon as their chief and start the Marawi siege the adhering to year. Hapilon was between the leaders killed by troops in the metropolis.

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