DAVAO CITY • The parents of brothers Omarkhayam and Abdullah, who lead the Maute terrorist group, have been arrested by the Filipino authorities.
Their mother Romato Maute, also known as Farhana, was arrested last Friday, according to Chief Superintendent Reuben Theodore Sindac, chief of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Police Regional Office.
She was nabbed along with seven other women in the Lanao Del Sur region, Mr Sindac said, days after her husband was also arrested.
Before their arrest, Romato and the other women had been hiding in a barangay (village) where they had bought firearms and a grey Toyota Revo, he said. They were planning to use these in their escape from Lanao del Sur. Authorities nabbed them in another village in Masiu district. Besides the firearms, authorities also seized improvised explosive devices from the group.
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Earlier last week, Cayamora Maute, the father of the Maute brothers, was arrested in Davao City. He has since been transferred to a more secure location.
Omarkhayam and Abdullah, both educated in Islamic universities in Egypt and Jordan, formed the group named after them in 2013. There is a third brother Madie, who is also with the terrorist group.
The brothers' parents are believed to have helped fund the armed group.
The Maute group has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorists.
The authorities are readying charges of illegal possession of a firearm and an explosive against Cayamora.
Brigadier-General Gilbert Gapay, assistant commander of the Eastern Mindanao Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, said a grenade and a .45-pistol were found in the van in which the 67-year-old patriarch was riding when he was apprehended at a checkpoint in Davao City last Tuesday. Also arrested were Cayamora's second wife Kongan, van driver Aljon Salazar Esmael, Benzar Ali Tingao and his wife Norjannah, daughter of the suspected Maute patriarch.
Brig-Gen Gapay said : "All the information we will be getting from Cayamora Maute will be very valuable and instrumental to the complete neutralisation of this terror group."
He added that during the "formative years" of the terror group, Cayamora was there to "give direction, guidance and influence to his sons".
PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER/ASIA NEWS NETWORK