By FROILAN GALLARDO
and Frank E. Dosdos, Jr.
The military has identified the two Daesh-Maute fighters slain in the clash in Lanao sur on Monday as one of the so-called “students” of Malaysian bomb maker Zulkifli Abdhir.
Capt. Clint Antipala, public information officer of the Army 6th Infantry Division said they have identified Abu Tahir, an alleged student of Malaysian bomb maker Zulkifli Abdhir or more popularly known as Marwan who also died in the encounter with PNP SAF Forces in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on Jan. 15, 2015.
Marwan runs a bomb-making school for potential Mujahedeen fighters including Tahir from his hideout in the marshlands of Central Mindanao.
“We received information that Tahir moved to Lanao del Sur to join the remnants of the Daesh-inspired Maute group right after Marawi City was liberated in 2017,” Antipala said.
Antipala said Tahir joined the band of Benito Owayda Marohombsar, also known as Abu Dar after he arrived in Lanao del Sur.
Aside from Tahir, Antipala identified one of those killed in the March 11 encounter with government troops as a certain Abu Jihad.
Antipala said the identities of the two alleged Dawlah Islamiyah members after they were identified by residents of Barangay Calaludan, Pagayawan town in Lanao del Sur where the clash took place last Monday.
He said the Dawlah Islamiyah group may have stayed long near the village for the residents to be familiar to their identities.
Two soldiers were killed and another one was wounded in the clash that left Tahir and Jihad dead.
“We extend our deepest sympathies to the bereaved families and friends of our soldiers who paid the ultimate sacrifice in protecting our people against the terrorist group,” said Brigadier Gen. Roberto Ancan, the 1st Infantry Division and Joint Task Force Zampelan Commander.
Troops also recovered one carbine rifle and lower receiver (part) of M-16 rifle from the encounter site.
Col. Romeo Brawner, chief of the Army 103 Infantry Brigade said there is an ongoing operation to flush out the remnants of an estimated 22-member fighters who were able to escape last Monday.
“We are sustaining our focused military operation in order to destroy the remnants of this group (DI-Lanao) and make the province free from terrorist,” Brawner said.