Father of local ISIS leaders, 5 others arrested in Davao City
Cayamora Maute - who is arrested June 6, 2017 in Davao City - and one of his wives and two sons appear on this wanted terrorists poster.
DAVAO CITY – Security forces in Davao City have arrested Tuesday afternoon the patriarch of the Maute family, whose members are leaders of the local ISIS group battling troops in the war-torn city of Marawi in southern Philippines, officials said.
Officials Cayamora Maute, father of ISIS leaders Omar and Abdullah Maute, was arrested at a checkpoint in Toril district together with one of his wives Kongan Alfonso Balawag and daughter Norhana Balawag Maute, their driver Aljon Salazar Ismael and another man, Benzarali Tingao.
A pistol and an improvised explosive, including some P360,000 in cash were also seized from their van while attempting to enter Davao. The patriarch was also carrying several identification cards with different names, according to Army Brigadier General Gilbert Gapay, of the Eastern Mindanao Command during a news briefing at the headquarters of the local police force.
Gapay said soldiers and policemen manning the checkpoint became suspicious of the group when they spotted a pile of clothes inside the van and inspected the vehicle until they found the gun and the improvised explosive.
He said further investigation revealed that Maute is included in the wanted Maute terrorist poster displayed at the checkpoint. “The searching troops were in doubt that something is being concealed under the pile of clothes inside a van that prompted them to conduct a thorough search and found the pistol and improvised explosive device and eventually led to the arrest of the suspect and the others. He was also identified on photo gallery posted at the checkpoint,” Gapay said.
He said the arrest of the elder Maute was a big blow to the local ISIS still holed out in Marawi.
“This is a big blow to the Maute Group, the arrest is a manifestation that they cannot run away from the long arm of the law. We appreciate the vigilance and alertness of cooperation of the public of our troops that led to their apprehension,” Gapay said.
It was unknown how the group of Maute was able to escape the military operation in Marawi after the ISIS fighters occupied the city on May 23. Other reports said the elder Maute was on his way to hospital for a medical checkup for an unknown illness when arrested at the checkpoint.
The mayor of Davao City, Sarah Carpio, commended the security forces for Maute's arrest and called on the public to continue supporting the authorities.“We commend Lt. Col. Nestor Mondia and his team for the apprehension of Mr. Cayamora Maute at the military checkpoint in Toril today. We commend the entire Task Force Davao team for always being alert, for their hard work, and for their unquestionable dedication to keep Davao City and the Dabawenyos safe from terrorists like the Maute brothers,” she said.
Carpio said the apprehension of the Maute patriarch is crucial in the government's efforts to end the reign of terror experienced in Marawi and the entire Mindanao these days.“This is an important development in our collective fight to reclaim peace and defeat lawlessness and terrorism, and all that threatens our freedom and future.To the Dabawenyos, let us support our soldiers and our police. Let us always support our government,” she said. (With reports from Malou Cablinda and Rhoderick Beñez.)
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