MANILA (UPDATED)--A DNA test has confirmed the death of Abu Dar, a leader of the siege of Marawi City in 2017 who went on to become the supposed emir of the Islamic State in Southeast Asia, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Sunday.
DNA samples came from one of 2 bodies recovered after an encounter between terrorists and state troops in Lanao Del Sur last month, the Philippine Army's First Infantry Division said in a statement.
Informants had identified the body as that of Abu Dar, whose real name was Owaydah Marohombsar, it added.
Lorenzana said he was not aware if the DNA samples were tested by the US, but he confirmed in a text message to ABS-CBN News that "It's Abu Dar's remains."
"For now his group is leaderless. We are monitoring who will replace Dar," he said.
The First Infantry Division, however, said they were able to confirm the identity of Abu Dar's remains through the help of US counterparts.
"We thank our US counterparts and the citizens of Lanao Del Sur for helping us neutralize the last remaining leader of the Maute-ISIS Group in the person of Abu Dar. We will not rest until we neutralize all the other remnants of this terrorist group”, said Col. Romeo Brawner Jr., Commander of the 103rd Infantry “Haribon” Brigade.
“With his neutralization, we are hoping that this would also finally put an end to the Maute-ISIS in Lanao,” he added.
Abu Dar is believed to be the only terrorist leader who escaped when government forces took back Marawi, said the Army's First Infantry Division.
He is regarded as the successor of brothers Omar and Abdullah Maute, who were killed in the siege of Marawi, the Army unit added.
Four soldiers were killed and 2 wounded in the March clash with Abu Dar's forces.
The terror leader is also said to be responsible for the bombing of a commercial area in Cagayan De Oro in 2016, where several doctors were killed, as well as the killing of several soldiers, policemen and Christians in Marawi and Lanao Del Sur, said the First Infantry Division.
With reports from Jorge Cariño, ABS-CBN News; and Victor Reyes