Maute group

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Maute group
Also known as Islamic State of Lanao
IS Ranao
Country Philippines
Foundation 2012
Dates of operation 2013 to present (2013 to present)
Preceded by Khilafah Islamiyah Movement[2]
Active region(s) Mindanao
Ideology Salafi jihadism
Notable attacks
Size 30 members (June 2018)[3]
Means of revenue Protection rackets

The Maute Group ([mɐʔutɪ] or [mɐʔute̞]), also known as the Islamic State of Lanao, is a radical Islamist group composed of former Moro Islamic Liberation Front guerrillas and foreign fighters led by Omar Maute, the alleged founder of a Dawlah Islamiya, or Islamic state based in Lanao del Sur, Mindanao, Philippines.[4][5][6][7] The group, which a Philippine Army brigade commander characterized as terrorist,[8] had been conducting a protection racket[7] in the remote settlements of Butig, Lanao del Sur. It had clashed on several occasions with Armed Forces of the Philippines troops, the most significant of which began in May 2017 and culminated in the Battle of Marawi.


The group, originally known as Dawlah Islamiya,[9] was founded in 2012 by brothers Abdullah and Omar Maute, who were described by a source as "petty criminals" at the time.[10] However, other sources have described the Maute family as wealthy and politically-connected. The matriarch, Ominta Romato Maute, also known as Farhana Maute, owns property in Mindanao and Manila, and runs a construction business. She is related to politicians in Butig, Lanao del Sur and is considered influential.[11] She has been described as the financier of the Maute group's activities, providing logistics and recruiting fighters.[12] Because of the involvement of the entire Maute family, the rise of the Maute Group is described as the rise of family terrorism in the Philippines.[13]

Butig, the headquarters of the Maute group, is also a stronghold of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and both groups are tied by blood or marriage. Abdullah and Omar Maute are first cousins of Azisa Romato, the wife of the late MILF Vice Chairman for Military Affairs Alim Abdul Aziz Mimbantas, who is buried in Butig. The Maute brothers themselves were once members of the MILF.[14]

Early clashes with Philippine security forces

Philippine Army sources state that their initial encounter with the Maute group involved a firefight in 2013 when the insurgents attacked a security checkpoint the government troops were manning in Madalum, Lanao del Sur. The group was thought to have over 100 members then and were supplied with equipment by a foreign terrorist.[8] They are said to be affiliated with Jemaah Islamiya,[15] a Southeast Asian Islamist terrorist group.

The group was involved in a clash with Philippine Army troops in February 2016 that led to the capture of their headquarters in Butig, Lanao del Sur.[15][16] There were reports that Omar Maute was killed in that clash.[17] However, there were reports to the contrary, claiming that he escaped before the camp was overrun and was still alive;[18] video footage found on a cellphone captured by Philippine government troops during the Battle of Marawi indicated that to be true.[19] In November 2016, the Maute group seized the town of Butig, but were dislodged from their positions by Philippine security forces after about a week of fighting.

CNN has reported that two officers of the Philippine National Police had defected and joined the group.[20]

Declaration of allegiance to Islamic State

High-powered guns and other paraphernalia including confiscated by the Philippine Army in July 2018 allegedly owned by members of the Maute group

The group pledged allegiance to the Islamic State in April 2015, along with the Ansar Khalifa Philippines terrorist organization, vowing to provide support for each other.[10] However, according to former National Security Council senior consultant Ashley Acedillo, there are no indications that ISIS ever acknowledged the Maute group's pledge.[21]

Although some reports indicate that the Maute group is regularly seen carrying black flags bearing the insignia of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria,[7] Butig town mayor Ibrahim Macadato has stated that the group is not affiliated with ISIS, but are merely armed residents.[22] However, training manuals and other documents for militants under the Islamic State were recovered from their captured camp, indicating that the group may be trying to link up with ISIS.[23]

A regional security expert in October 2016 stated that the Maute group was sophisticated in its use of social media and was able to attract students and teachers from the Mindanao State University in Marawi.[24]

As ISIS suffers setbacks in Syria and Iraq, experts warn that hundreds of fighters from Indonesia and Malaysia will return to look for new opportunities to take the fight elsewhere, and the Maute group's pledge of loyalty to ISIS could serve as an incentive to join ranks with the organization.[25] Since at least 2016, reports on jihadist activities in the Philippines and of Filipino fighters with ISIS indicate an increasing degree of coordination, cooperation, and cohesion between Southeast Asian jihadist militants and the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.[26]


The Maute group is said to be actively recruiting minors for service as child warriors[27] and using the non-passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law as propaganda.[8] In April 2016, they abducted six sawmill workers from Butig,[28] two of whom were later found beheaded.[7] The group is also suspected of being behind a failed bomb plot in close proximity to the US embassy in Manila in November 2016.[29]

Davao City bombing

On October 4, 2016, three men linked to the Maute group were arrested in connection with the 2016 Davao City bombing. The men were TJ Tagadaya Macabalang, Wendel Apostol Facturan, and Musali Mustapha. Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said that the Maute group had established links with the Abu Sayyaf and that there are "indications" that the group is aligning themselves with ISIS.[30] On November 28, the Philippine government finally officially acknowledged that Maute is linked to ISIS in a live televised comment by President Rodrigo Duterte[31] who also revealed the financing of the Davao City bombing by illegal drug money indicating the presence of narcoterrorism in the Philippines.[32]

Battle of Marawi

On May 23, 2017, the Maute group attacked the city of Marawi in the Philippines. The attack resulted in the destruction of homes, the deaths and wounding of soldiers, policemen, and civilians, torching of a mosque, and a hospital being overrun. The former leader of Abu Sayyaf, Isnilon Hapilon was seen with the group during the attack. The attack resulted in President Duterte declaring a state of martial law across the entire island of Mindanao with the possibility that it be expanded nationwide.[33][34]

Majority of the evacuees and refugees have been housed in different barangays in Iligan City. On June 1, 2017, Iligan City Mayor Celso G. Regencia issued an order to the residents, who legally possessed firearms, to shoot terrorists who trespass their properties.[35]

Omar Maute was killed by the Armed Forces of the Philippines on October 16, 2017 along with former Abu Sayyaf chief Isnilon Hapilon.[36] The group was later declared "practically wiped out" by the armed forces following the deaths of the seven Maute brothers. While the public was told not to worry about the group for now, younger members of the group might assume leadership.[37]

After the Battle of Marawi

Remnants of the group reportedly are recruiting new members around Marawi in December 2017. The successor group has been labeled as the "Turaifie group" after its purported leader, Abu Turaifie.[38] Abu Turaifie is the alias of Esmail Sheikh Abdulmalik, the leader of Jamaatul Muhaajireen Wal Ansar, a faction which split from the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters.[39]


  1. ^ "7 Maute brothers confirmed dead". The Manila Times.
  2. ^ Franco, Joseph. "Mindanao after the Philippines presidential elections". Retrieved May 27, 2016.
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Maute Group / Islamic State of Lanao / Daulat Ul Islamiya / Daulah Islamiyah". Terrorism Research and Tracking Consortium. Retrieved 28 April 2017.
  5. ^ Reyes, Dempsey (24 October 2017). "Islamic freedom fighters, Abu Sayyaf next after Maute 'wipeout' — defense chief". The Manila Times. Retrieved 29 October 2017.
  6. ^ Espina-Varona, Inday (March 10, 2016). "Alphabet of terror in Philippines' political boiling pot". Catholic News Asia. Retrieved May 27, 2016.
  7. ^ a b c d Unson, John (April 13, 2016). "Maute group beheads 2 captive sawmill workers". The Philippine Star. Retrieved May 27, 2016.
  8. ^ a b c Ansis, JC (March 3, 2016). "Butig clashes: What we know so far". CNN Philippines. Retrieved May 27, 2016.
  9. ^ Unson, John. "How Maute group came to be". Retrieved 2017-06-02.
  10. ^ a b "Maute Group / Islamic State of Lanao / Daulat Ul Islamiya / Daulah Islamiyah". Trac.
  11. ^ Gopalakrishnan, Raju; Mogato, Manuel (23 June 2017). "The Mautes of the Philippines: from monied family to Islamic State". Reuters. Retrieved 17 October 2017.
  12. ^ Fonbuena, Carmela (10 June 2017). "Who is Farhana Maute?". Rappler. Retrieved 17 October 2017.
  13. ^ Banlaoi, Rommel. "Mate Group and Rise of Family Terrorism". Rappler. Retrieved 15 July 2017.
  14. ^ Zambrano, Chiara (March 3, 2016). "The ties that bind MILF and Maute group". ABS-CBN. Retrieved May 27, 2016.
  15. ^ a b Ho, Alex (February 26, 2016). "AFP overruns extremists' camp in Lanao, 45 killed since fighting erupted". CNN Philippines. Retrieved May 27, 2016.
  16. ^ Maitem, Jeoffrey (March 1, 2016). "Army regains control of Lanao Sur town, drives away ISIS-inspired group". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved May 27, 2016.
  17. ^ Gallardo, Froilan (March 24, 2016). "Army chief: Maute group is no ISIS". Mindanews. Retrieved May 27, 2016.
  18. ^ Macabalang, Ali G. (March 7, 2016). "Maute brothers still alive". Tempo. Archived from the original on March 8, 2016. Retrieved May 27, 2016.
  19. ^ Gomez, Jim; Pittman, Todd (7 June 2017). "AP Exclusive: Video shows militants in Philippine siege plot". Associated Press. Retrieved 8 June 2017.
  20. ^
  21. ^ News, Trishia Billiones, ABS-CBN. "Maute group not accredited by terror group ISIS, says analyst". ABS-CBN News. Retrieved 2017-06-02.
  22. ^ "Relief goods needed as aerial bombing continues in Lanao del Sur town". CNN Philippines. February 25, 2016. Retrieved May 27, 2016.
  23. ^ Pareño, Roel (March 10, 2016). "IS training manuals found at militants' camp". The Philippine Star. Retrieved May 27, 2016.
  24. ^ "Little-known Maute militants becoming formidable force in Philippines". The Japan Times Online. 2017-05-25. ISSN 0447-5763. Retrieved 2017-06-02.
  25. ^ Head, Jonathan (2017-05-31). "Maute rebel group: A rising threat to Philippines". BBC News. Retrieved 2017-06-02.
  26. ^ "Signs of a Nascent Islamic State Province in the Philippines". War on the Rocks. 2016-05-25. Retrieved 2017-06-02.
  27. ^ Ermac, Bonita (March 2, 2016). "Child Warriors Told They'd go to Heaven". Mindanao Gold Star Daily. Retrieved May 27, 2016.
  28. ^ Pareño, Roel (April 5, 2016). "Maute group abducts 6 sawmill workers in Lanao del Sur town". The Philippine Star. Retrieved May 27, 2016.
  29. ^ "Little-known Maute militants becoming formidable force in Philippines". Reuters. 2017-05-24. Retrieved 2017-06-02.
  30. ^ Tan, Kimberly Jane. "'Maute Group' men arrested over Davao City blast". ABS-CBN News. Retrieved October 7, 2016.
  31. ^ Hader Glang (November 29, 2016). "Philippines officially recognizes Daesh role in south". Anadolu Agency. Retrieved December 1, 2016.
  32. ^ Banlaoi, Rommel. "Threats of Narcoterrorism in the Philippines". Rappler. Retrieved 23 November 2017.
  33. ^ Gomez, Jim (23 May 2017). "Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte Declares Martial Rule in Southern Part of Country". Time. Retrieved 24 May 2017.
  34. ^ Gomez, Jim; Cerojano, Teresa (May 24, 2017). "ISIS-Linked Militants Behead Police Chief in Philippines". The Times. Retrieved 25 May 2017.
  35. ^ "Order To Shoot Terrorists Issued By The Mayor Of Iligan City". TEMPEOP. Retrieved 2017-06-01.
  36. ^ News, ABS-CBN. "Terrorists Isnilon Hapilon, Omar Maute killed in Marawi battle". ABS-CBN News. Retrieved 2017-10-16.
  37. ^
  38. ^ "Maute recruitment continues around Marawi". ABS-CBN News. 15 December 2017. Retrieved 22 December 2017.
  39. ^ Navales, Mark (27 April 2017). "Breakway BIFF commander forms IS-linked jihadist group". GMA News. Retrieved 17 May 2018.
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