Strong indications Omar Maute dead – military
MARAWI CITY – The military on Friday said it got strong indications that Omarkhayyam Maute has been killed in one of the clashes here between soldiers and Maute gunmen.
“Our report is that he was killed in one of the four conflict areas that we have been talking about (Barangays Lilod, Raya Madaya, Marinaut and Bangolo),” Lt. Col. Jo-ar Herrera, the spokesperson of the Army’s 1st Infantry Division, told reporters.
Herrera said they still could not categorically say if Omarkhayyam was indeed killed “because we do not have the body.”
He also said they could not provide details on Omarkhayyam’s reported death as of yet, pending validation of information that they got.
“We can’t say what day he was killed, what caliber (of firearms) had killed him or where was his cadaver buried. But we have been reporting as early as two weeks ago that he was fatally [hit.] There’s a strong indication and we continue to make validations,” Herrera said.
He said another report that the military has started validating was the one pertaining to the death of a Jemaah Islamiya member by the name of Bun Mahmoud, allegedly a Malaysian physician.
Reports about Mahmoud’s death was shared with the Inquirer by intelligence sources.
“We really could not confirm anything unless we see the body but we also got a similar report,” Herrera added.
As this developed, Herrera said the military will continue to seize more areas from the extremists, who are now numbering between 90 and 100 fighters.
“We have killed a large number of them so their size had shrunk,” he said.
But Herrera maintained the military could not issue any definitive timetable as to when the fighting would be over.
“We did not establish or say anything on deadlines. Our goal is to continue our combat clearing operations. Our battle field is very fluid and dynamic. Every day, the location of the enemy changes,” he said.
On Friday, the military continued to conduct air strikes.
Diminishing Maute area
Herrera said soldiers were also continuing their push into the enemy location inside the city and that the gunmen were now “desperate because their area continues to diminish.”
“They continue to use the hostages as human shields and they maximized their use of explosives to slow us down,” he added.
Herrera said another thing that slowed down the advancing troops was the presence of trapped civilians.
But he said the enemy resistance continues to weaken by the day and this indicated that “they were running out of ammunition already.”
“Our troops continue to push forward and finish the job. Our area is becoming bigger and we can see that their now in their last stand,” he added.
Herrera said at this stage, the military can already say that it succeeded in foiling Maute’s plan to seize the city and establish the country’s first Islamic caliphate here.
“We have cleared 92 barangays so far and there’s now a semblance of governance in these areas,” he said.
“We were able to contain the situation and no spill over (to other areas) happened,” he added.
Also on Friday, government security forces recovered about two kilograms of shabu from the house of a former mayor who was also tagged as a supporter of Maute gunmen responsible for the attacks in this city.
Chief Inspector William Santos, Philippine Drug Enforcement Group for Mindanao, told reporters that the shabu, with street value of about P10 million, was recovered around 10 a.m. from the house of former Marawi Mayor Omar Solitaio Ali.
Santos said Ali was suspected to be a financier of Maute.
Ali’s brother, Fahad Salic, also a former mayor of Marawi, was arrested in Misamis Oriental on June 7./ac/rga
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