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Southeast Asia
Abu Dar replaces Hapilon as IS-SE Asia emir
[IANS] A sub-leader of the Maute Group has taken over as the leader of the Islamic State in Southeast Asia. The new IS-Southeast Asia "emir" identified as Abu Dar, succeeded Isnilon Hapilon, a senior leader of the Abu Sayyaf, who was killed by soldiers during the five-month siege of Marawi city last year.

Military spokesman Ronald Suscano said, "The one who is standing as their emir or leader now, the one who replaced him (Hapilon) is Abu Dar."

Hapilon and Omar Maute were killed when elite government troops attacked the main battle area in Marawi city. The assault also led to the rescue of 20 hostages, including a two-month old baby girl.

Suscano described Dar as a "full-blooded Maranao", a term for a southern tribe. He said they had reports that Dar was frequenting Pagayawan town in Lanao del Sur where the terrorist leader grew up, studied and married.

Suscano said Dar was among those who laid a siege of Marawi city on May 23 last year, but was able to escape along with other Maute militants.

"He escaped out of Marawi with a large amount of money. His group carried the money so they have a lot of funds," said Suscano.

Dar, like Hapilon, is reported to have connections with foreign terrorists. "There are foreign terrorists left (in Mindanao). He is with them now," said Suscano.

Last November, an intelligence officer in the Philippine Army said there were about eight foreign terrorists operating in Mindanao, providing assistance to local terrorists.
Posted by:ryuge