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Elder Maute led sons to become terrorists – AFP

DAVAO CITY – The military yesterday said terrorist leaders Abdullah and Omar Maute took guidance and protection from their father who was arrested Tuesday at a checkpoint in Sirawan, Toril.

Brig. Gen. Gilbert Gapay, martial law spokesman for the Armed Forces Eastern Mindanao Command said Cayamora Maute played a great role in the formative years of the Maute Group.

“Considering that in Maranao family, the patriarch is being looked up to and serves as a leader when it comes to family matters,” Gapay said.

“It took years before they can develop their terroristic capability, and all those formative years, they had their father to give them direction, guidance and influence on his sons of the family. It is because of this that Cayamora Maute has a great participation in the terrorist group,” he said.

Gapay said Cayamora’s capture has a bearing on the overall Maute organization but he cannot ascertain if this will stop the clashes in Marawi or if the Maute brothers will “do something to rescue their father.”

“Unang una, ang morale ng mga magkakapatid. Alam nila ang kanilang ama ay nadakip at nasa custody,” he said.

Cayamora, the 67-year-old patriarch of the Maute clan, was arrested along with four other persons, including his second wife Kongan Alfonso Balawag.

Gapay said Cayamora was expelled by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) for “grave misconduct.”

“Based on the propensity of the sanction, Cayamora Maute did really something illegal. We are still following up details on that and verifying what really was the cause of his expulsion from the MILF,” he said.

Aside from Cayamora and his wife, police also arrested their daughter, Norjannah Balawag Maute, and her partner Benzarali Tingao; and the driver, Aljon Salazar Ismael.

Gapay, who served as brigadier commander from 2014 to 2016 in Lanao del Sur, said following his expulsion, Cayamora found his own group, initially as a subgroup of the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) until its leader known as alias “Sanusi” was killed by the military in November 2012 in Marawi City.

“After the neutralization (Sanusi), the Maute Group laid low,” he said.

During this time, Gapay said the Maute group turned bandits and served as private armies of some politicians in Lanao del Sur and protectors of the drug lords.

“Kaya they were able to generate resources to further their terroristic activities,” Gapay said.

Gapay said the police are preparing charges of rebellion against the arrested suspects.

Cayamora has a standing of warrant of arrest, along with 89 other membes of the Maute Group for five counts of kidnapping and serious illegal detention, and also Norjannah for violation of Presidential Decree 1866 for illegal possession of blasting caps and triggering devices issued by the Regional Trial Court 12 in Malabang, Lanao del Sur.