The Philippine military has announced that the new emir of the ISIS caliphate in South-east Asia has been identified. Major Ronald Suscano, the spokesman for the army’s 1st Infantry Division, said one of those who plotted the Marawi siege, identified Owayda Abdul Najid alias “Abu Dar,” replaced Isnilon Hapilon who was killed in 2017.
While previous intelligence indicates that Abu Dar was less radical, it is feared that he could follow in his predecessor’s footsteps and as such lead violent and brutal attacks in the region. He has been on the list of most wanted terrorists for the past year alongside other local terrorist linked with the Marawi seige.
Residents in the Philippines have been urged to be vigilant and offer any and all information that could lead to the arrest or neutralization of Abu Dar and the cell he heads in the country. The military is seeking to decapitate the terror group’s operation by collaborating with other government agencies to block the financial network of the militants.
ISIS-inspired militants from the Maute and Abu Sayyaf groups attacked Marawi city in May last year following a botched military operation to serve a warrant of arrest against Hapilon. The fighting resulted in the deaths of more than 1,100 people. The siege prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to declare martial law in the southern island of Mindanao.