IEDs, terror docs seized from house of Maute leaders' mom

Chiara Zambrano, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 06 2016 07:30 AM

MANILA - Soldiers and elite policemen on Tuesday recovered two homemade bombs and important documents from a residential compound allegedly owned by the mother of the Maute terrorists' leaders in Marawi, Lanao Del Sur.

The documents seized from the five houses of Farhana Maute could prove the alleged terror activities of her sons, Abdul and Omar Maute, authorities said.

The Maute matriarch is believed to be the financier of the Maute Group which occupied the town of Butig in Lanao Del Sur last week, the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) said.

The CIDG said her residential compound is often used as a safehouse by Maute terrorists.

A policeman from the raiding party was wounded after stepping on a trip wire inside the compound.

The raid also yielded water and power bills bearing Farhana's name.

Her maiden surname, Romato, was also found written on several walls.

Some residents in the compound, however, denied knowing any Maute fighter.

Farhana is a former government contractor. Her family, known for being affluent, sent her sons to study in the Middle East, where they were allegedly radicalized.

The Maute Group occupied Butig's vital installations, including its unused town hall, madrasa and national high school last week.

State forces retook the town center on Thursday, driving the Maute Group to the fringes of Butig.

President Duterte has offered an olive branch to Maute, saying he does "not want to wage war on his countrymen." But there is no indication that the terrorists, who earlier pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (ISIS), will lay down arms.

On the contrary, videos declassified and shared by the Army show the Maute Group training children in a location that has not been confirmed yet.

Children wearing ISIS headbands and shirts can be seen chanting, conducting drills and listening to speakers in the clips which were recovered from Maute fighters in the course of the military operations.

Outgoing Armed Forces chief of staff General Ricardo Visaya said he was not aware of any report that the Maute Group is willing to talk to the government.

He added there will be no let up against Maute unless otherwise instructed by the commander-in-chief, President Duterte.