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Maute Group on brink of collapse — AFP

The Dawlah Islamiyah-Maute Group is expected to be dismantled soon after the series of military operations that killed its leader and some members, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said Tuesday.

In a press briefing, AFP spokesperson Colonel Francel Margareth Padilla said 12 Maute members were killed, three surrendered, and three others were arrested in these operations.

"Maute Group is already on a brink of collapse following a series of decisive military and joint law enforcement operations, particularly against the leadership and perpetrators of the Mindanao State University (MSU) improvised explosive device bombing," she said.

The AFP reported Monday that the alleged mastermind in last December's MSU bombing in Marawi City was killed in a military operation in Lanao del Sur.

The fatality was identified as Khadafi Mimbesa or "Engineer," also the amir or leader of Dawlah Islamiyah-Maute Group.

"Statements from a surrendered terrorist, identified as KHATAB, a high-value individual in the DI-Maute Group who surrendered to the 2nd Mechanized Brigade on February 11, have corroborated the initial information on demise of the DI-Maute Group Amir and the mastermind behind the MSU bombing," the AFP had said.

'Significantly decapacitated'

Other fatalities were Saumay Saiden or Omar and Abdul Hadi or "Hodi Imam" or "Abday'n."

The AFP said Saiden was a subleader of Maute Group and the one who allegedly rigged and detonated the bomb at the MSU.

Hadi, meanwhile, was said to be an improvised explosive device (IED) expert and the one who assembled the bomb.

"??The death of Omar and Engineer as well as the surrender of Khatab brought the DI-MG leadership in disarray. ??Engineer who has good leadership and sympathy with his comrades and Khatab with wide network in Lanao del Norte due to family ties and strong personality greatly affected the group's ability to operate," Padilla said.

"??On their strength and capabilities, the neutralization of the DI-MG's trained bomber and combat skilled members rendered the group significantly decapacitated to launch large-scale terroristic attacks," she added.

'Greatly hampered'

The Islamic State-inspired Maute group stormed Marawi City on May 23, 2017, triggering a five-month armed conflict which resulted in over a thousand deaths and left the city in ruins.

President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. has vowed to continue rebuilding Marawi City, noting that P1 billion has been allotted for the victims of the Marawi siege.

The AFP said there are no significant activities monitored related to recruitment of Maute Group so far.

"??Overall, the intelligence and decisive military operation greatly hampered the DI-MG's capability to carry out another act of terrorism that could instill fear and intimidation in the community," Padilla said. — VDV, GMA Integrated News