One of seven Maute brothers responsible for Marawi arrested
Philippine security forces yesterday arrested one of seven brothers behind an ultra-radical Muslim group that has held parts of the southern city of Marawi for more than three weeks.
Mohammad Noaim Maute, described as a senior member of the Maute group and a trained bomb maker, was nabbed at a checkpoint in Cagayan de Oro, 66km from Marawi, just after dawn, Major Ezra Balagey, spokesman of the Eastern Mindanao Command, said in a report.
"The subject was involved in bombing incidents in Mindanao previously.
"He is the youngest of the Maute clan. They have seven children by the matriarch, and he is the youngest," Brigadier-General Restituto Padilla, the military spokesman, told reporters. He said Maute was also involved in the killing of two of six sawmill workers abducted by the militant group in April.
Maute denied that he was a "bomb expert", and claimed he was a cousin, not a brother, of Omarkhayam and Abdullah, who led hundreds of Muslim insurgents in attacking Marawi on May 23. Most of the other seven Maute brothers are believed to be still in Marawi.
Their parents were taken into custody last week. Romato Maute, also known as Farhana, the mother, was charged with rebellion yesterday.
Believed to be a financier of the Maute group, she was arrested on June 9, as she was being spirited out of Lanao del sur province near Marawi.
Mr Zia Alonto Adiong, a politician helping in rescue and relief efforts, said residents fleeing Marawi had seen scores of dead bodies in an area where intense fighting has taken place.
The army has said 290 people have been killed in the more than three weeks of fighting, including 206 militants, 58 soldiers and 26 civilians.
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