By FRANCIS T. WAKEFIELD
The spokesman of the Army’s 1st Infantry Division yesterday has revealed the identity of the replacement of the late Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon as emir of Isis Southeast Asia.
Major Ronald Suscano identified the new emir as Maute Group sub-leader Abu Dar, said to be a full-blooded Maranao.
Suscano made the revelation following the arrest in Sta. Cruz, Manila of Maute Group sub-leader Abdul Nasser Lomondot over the weekend.
“Ang tumatayo ngayon, diba namatay si Isnilon Hapilon, so ‘yung tumatayong emir or lider nila ngayon na pumalit sa kanya si Abu Dar,” Suscano said.
Suscano, at the same time, revealed that when the Marawi siege erupted or started in May 23, 2017, Dar was there and was holding lots of money when he and other members of the terrorist group managed to escaped from the Main Battle Area (MBA).
“Based sa information na nalaman ko, nung paglabas ng Marawi siya iyung may dalang pera, siya ang nagdala ng pera palabas. Maraming perang nai-puslit nila palabas ng Marawi. Siya ang nagdala kaya marami silang pondo, sya ang may hawak,” Suscano said.
When asked how old Dar is, he is in his 40s when looking at his photo.
Suscano said based on intelligence reports they have been receiving, the known whereabouts of Dar is said to be Pagawayan, Lanao del Sur where he traces his roots.
Suscano also said that aside from Dar, there are about nine other sub-leaders of the 313 remnants of the Maute Group.