CAMP RANAO, Marawi City (DWDD) – Authorities are in the middle of confirming the death of Malaysian terrorist Dr Mahmud Ahmad alias Dr. Mahmud who is said to be among the twenty (20) stragglers of the Daesh-inspired Maute Group killed last week in Marawi City.
Ahmad is reportedly being groomed to replace Isnilon Hapilon as Islamic State Emir in Southeast Asia. He was seen in a video alongside Isnilon Hapilon and the Maute brothers plotting the Marawi siege. He studied in Pakistan and learned to make explosives in an al Qaeda camp in Afghanistan. He left Malaysia in 2014.
He was said to be in the company of the last 29 remnants of the Maute group, together with six to eight foreign fighters.
According to AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Eduardo Año, they are conducting DNA testing on the cadavers recovered in the latest encounter to identify if Mahmoud was among the fatalities, after former hostages confirmed the death of the Malaysian.
In the same operation, government forces sustained six wounded personnel, most of them with minor injuries.
Col. Romeo Brawner, deputy commander of the AFP’s Joint Task Force Ranao, DNA samples of the cadavers have already been taken and sent for examination, the same process that confirmed the death of Hapilon.
Brawner added that if Dr Mahmud is among those killed in the last operation, it will be a major blow to the aspiration of the Maute-ASG group to establish an Islamic Caliphate in Mindanao, similar to what transpired in Iraq and Syria but are failing rapidy.
The Marawi siege has been the Philippines’ biggest security crisis in years, but some experts see it as a prelude to a more ambitious bid by militants to exploit Mindanao’s poverty and use its jungles and mountains as a base to train, recruit and launch attacks in the region.
Despite the pocket resistance being put up by Maute remnants, they are confined in an area less than a hectare area in size or about 15 to 20 small structures located inside the main battle area. AES/JTFRANAO/MCAG