By Edith Regalado and John Unson
MANILA, Philippines - The matriarch of the Maute group was arrested in Masiu town, about 34 kilometers from Marawi City in Lanao del Sur, as she was trying to escape along with two wounded men and seven women Friday afternoon.
Ominta Romato, also known as Farhana, is the first wife of Cayamora Maute and mother of brothers Omar and Abdullah who led more than 200 people in seizing Marawi City on May 23.
She is believed to be the heart of the Islamic State (IS)-inspired Maute group, having directed its movement and operations and taking care of finances and international networking.
Farhana and Cayamora, who was arrested earlier by government forces, are said to be the masterminds behind the Maute operations.
Civilians reported Romato’s presence in Barangays Unda Dayawan and Tamboro Cormatan, both in Masiu town, after she was seen buying vehicles and firearms days before the attempted getaway. Her reported safehouse is in Dayawan but she was arrested in Tamboro Cormatan.
An M-14 rifle, four rifle grenades, two improvised explosive devices and an undetermined amount of cash bundled with Landbank money bands were recovered from the vehicle that she and her group used to try to escape.
Malacañang welcomed the arrest, calling it an “important development.”
Read the full story at PhilStar