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‘Abu Dar’ killed in Lanao clash?

The military yesterday did not discount the possibility that one of the four Dawlah Islamiyah-Lanao terrorists killed in the Lanao del Sur encounter last Thursday is Benito Marohombsar, alias “Abu Dar.”

Dar, it was recalled, is the only remaining “significant figure” in the Islamic State-inspired Maute Group.

Army 103rd Brigade commander Col. Romeo Brawner said based on reliable information they received, one of the four militants killed is Dar himself.

“Posible, so iyung isang body count, na-identify ng credible informants natin na siya nga,” Brawner said.

Dar emerged as the new Dawlah Islamiyah-Lanao Group commander after the Marawi City siege and neutralization of the Maute brothers and Abu Sayyaf Group leader Isnilon Hapilon.

“According to our three informants, one of the slain terrorists was Abu Dar. We already requested the higher headquarters for the DNA (dioxyribunocleic acid) test to confirm his neutralization,” Brawner said.

Brawner said that four soldiers were killed in the encounter between government soldiers and the terrorists in Batangay Dinaigan in Tubaran.

Lt. Col. Edgar Allan Villanueva, Army 49th Infantry Battalion commander, said during the encounter, Dar was with about 20 of his comrades and they were also able to neutralize three of his cohorts.

A military report disclosed that troops from the Army 49th Infantry Battalion heavily engaged at least 20 Daesh-inspired Maute Group fighters while scouring Barangay Dinaigan at 5:04 p.m.

The gunfight endured for an hour and 30 minutes, resulting in the deaths of four Maute fighters, two of which were retrieved from the encounter site by the engaged troops.

Soldiers also seized two caliber 5.56 rifles with an M203 grenade launcher, a caliber .45 pistol, hand and rifle grenades, pieces of ammunition, and a bandolier. (Francis Wakefield)