Lorenzana confirms Isnilon Hapilon, Omar Maute killed
(Updated at 12:34 p.m.) The top leaders behind the months-long war in Marawi City have been killed, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana confirmed Monday.
In a press conference, the Defense chief said troops launched an assault early Monday, which led to the deaths of Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute.
“We were supposed to go to Marawi today with the President but we were advised by ground commanders not to go because they will conduct the assault this morning,” he told reporters.
“So they were able to do it this morning. They were able to get Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute. They were both killed. In fact, their faces are now splashed in the internet. They were also able to recover 17 hostages,” he added.
A female hostage who escaped helped locate the presence of Hapilon and Maute in one of the buildings in the main battle area.
“We will announce the termination of hostilities in a couple of days,” Lorenzana said.
Hapilon, leader of the Abu Sayyaf based in Basilan, is the purported emir of ISIS in Southeast Asia. Omar is one of the leaders behind the Maute Terrorist Group.
The Philippine government has offered a P10 million bounty for Hapilon, on top of the $5 million reward offered by the United States. They also offered P5 million for the two Maute brothers.
There are still about 20 hostages with the terrorists.
Lorenzana said the government troops are also going after Malaysian terrorist Mahmud Ahmad, believed to be a financier of the terrorist group.
Asked if martial law will be lifted, he said they will still assess the situation.
The conflict between government forces and armed groups started May 23, when authorities tried to arrest Hapilon.
The armed groups were also supposed to establish a wilayat or ISIS province in Marawi. /je
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