Duterte offers P20M for Hapilon, 2 Maute brods | Inquirer News

Duterte offers P20M for Hapilon, 2 Maute brods

President Duterte has increased by P10 million the bounty for the “neutralization” of Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon, while civic groups in Lanao del Sur province have called for a halt to airstrikes in Marawi to save the city from destruction.

Hapilon has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) group and is allied with the Maute terror group that the military has been battling in Marawi City for 14 days.

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A reward of P5 million is also offered for each of the two leaders of the group, Omar and Abdullah Maute.

P17.4M for Hapilon

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Gen. Eduardo Año, chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, said on Monday that Mr. Duterte offered P10 million on top of the P7.4-million bounty that the government earlier put on the head of Hapilon.

The Abu Sayyaf leader is believed to be trapped in the fighting in Marawi after he reportedly went to the city to establish a “wilayat,” or a province of IS.

He has also reportedly been declared IS “emir” in the Philippines.

“The President is offering a P10-million reward money for the neutralization of Isnilon Hapilon who is believed to be leading the terrorist Maute-IS group in attacking Marawi City,” Año said in a statement.

This amount is also separate from the $5-million bounty offered by the US government for Hapilon’s arrest.

Hapilon, a senior leader of the Abu Sayyaf group, has an outstanding warrant of arrest for kidnapping with ransom and serious illegal detention.

“The Armed Forces of the Philippines welcomes the pronouncement of President Duterte. We hope that this will bear significant accomplishments leading to the eventual arrest and neutralization of Isnilon Hapilon and the Maute brothers,” Año said.

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Col. Edgard Arevalo, AFP public affairs chief, said the increase in the bounty showed the resolve of the administration to get the terrorists “dead or alive” and end the conflict in Marawi.

“We are positive that through our President’s latest pronouncement, we will see the same support and assistance that our people and the local government have given us in our previous accomplishments in the Bohol incident,” he said.

The fighting in Marawi erupted on May 23 after the police and military tried to arrest Hapilon.

More than 2,000 residents are trapped in the fighting and military attack planes are hitting terrorist positions with airstrikes.

Stop airstrikes

But civic groups have expressed alarm over the destruction the airstrikes are causing in the city.

On Monday, their leaders urged Mr. Duterte to order a halt to the airstrikes to save the city from destruction.

“These airstrikes have proved destructive to public infrastructure and private property in our beloved city, property that took families so much pain to establish,” said Maranao leader Samira Gutoc-Tomawis, who resigned from the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) partly because of the airstrikes.

“Up to now the military cannot give us good assurance that the bombing runs spared civilian targets. Just look at what happened to the 10 soldiers who were killed by a so-called friendly fire,” Tomawis added, referring to the accident that happened on Wednesday.

“We have been calling for an end to airstrikes since the early part of the crisis. We are bothered by the thought of Marawi reduced to rubble,” she said.

“We cannot allow an Aleppo in Southeast Asia,” said Amerodin Cali, a development worker. He was referring to Syria’s second largest city that has been ravaged in a protracted civil war.

“If the siege happened in, say, Cebu, will the government do what it has done to Marawi so far?” asked Pendatun Disimban of Bangsamoro Solidarity Network. —WITH A REPORT FROM FRANCES MANGOSING

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TAGS: Isnilon Hapilon, Marawi, Maute group, Philippine news updates, Rodrigo Duterte
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