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Maute’s mother, 9 others nabbed

Elite police forces have arrested the mother of the leaders of the extremist Maute Group gunmen whose battle with security forces for more than two weeks now in Marawi City has already left more than 200 people dead.

The arrest of Ominta Romato Maute came five days after her husband Cayamora was collared along with their daughter from the latter’s second wife in a checkpoint in Davao City.

Chief Supt. Reuben Theodore Sindac, director of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) regional police, said Ominta, who is also known as Farhana, was arrested along with seven women and two wounded men in Barangay Kormatan in Masiu town of Lanao del Sur.

Farhana and Cayamora are parents of Omar and Abdullah who were tagged as the leaders of the Maute Group. Security officials said the Maute Group has pledged allegiance with the international terror group ISIS with Abu Sayyaf leader Inislon Hapilon as the designated leader.

“They were arrested while on the act of escaping on board a gray Revo,” said Sindac.

Prior to the arrest, Sindac said they received intelligence reports that Farhana has been buying firearms and vehicles for unknown reason.

Suspecting that the vehicles and firearms could be used to reinforce the trapped Maute gunmen in Marawi City, a large contingent of police force led by Senior Supt. Rolando Anduyan proceeded to the area where Farhana was last monitored.

Police said Farhana and her companions were arrested at around 7 p.m. on Friday. They said the group was supposed to leave Lanao del Sur towards a safe place.

“Seized from them are several high-powered firearms and improvised explosive device,” said Sindac.

It is not immediately clear where the police would detain Farhana but her husband was earlier transferred to a maximum detention facility in Metro Manila.

The seized items from the group would be used in the filign of criminal charges against them.

President Duterte earlier disclosed that Farhana wanted to talk to him about the Marawi siege but the Chief Executive said he rejected the request from the Maute family.

The Marawi siege is set to enter its third week on Monday but authorities are racing against time to free Marawi City in time for the celebration of the country’s Independence Day on Monday. (AARON RECUENCO)