Omar Maute likely dead, says Año
Omar Maute, one of the two founding members of the Maute terrorist group, is likely dead, Armed Forces of the Philippines chief Gen. Eduardo Año said on Thursday.
Omar’s brother, Abdullah, is reportedly alive and is still in Marawi City, the AFP chief told reporters on the sidelines of the trilateral meeting of Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia in Manila.
“Si Omar mukhang patay na talaga (Omar is likely dead). Si Abdullah is still alive, still there,” Año said.
The two brothers led the terrorists who laid siege to Marawi City, which entered its 30th day on Thursday.
Reports of the death of Omar from one of the airstrikes carried out by the military circulated in early June.
Abu Sayyaf leader and purported Islamic State leader in Southeast Asia Isnilon Hapilon is still believed to be in Marawi. He was the target of the raid that triggered the ongoing conflict, which displaced thousands of residents and killed dozens of government troops.
“Hapilon is still inside kaya nga siguro defying yung mga members dun (that’s why the members are showing defiance),” the AFP chief said.
The military said on Wednesday there are still about a hundred fighters holed up in Marawi City.
President Rodrigo Duterte has allocated a P10 million bounty for Hapilon’s head, while P5 million each for the two Maute brothers.
While the conflict has dragged into a month now, the AFP chief said they are not setting a deadline to finish the conflict in Marawi.
“Mahirap magbigay ng timeline. Una, nape-pressure tropa natin at the cost of losing soldiers (It’s difficult to set a timeline. Our troops will feel they are being pressured… at the cost of losing soldiers),” he said, but added that they had good turnout of operations recently.
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