MANILA— The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) confirmed that the ongoing clash with military and Maute Group members in Marawi City, Lanao Del Sur is aimed at neutralizing Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon who was spotted along with an estimated 15 followers in the area Tuesday.
AFP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla made the statement when asked by the PNA for information on the fighting which reportedly started 2 p.m.
Around five government security troops were reported wounded in the fighting.
“Contrary to reports and rumors you are receiving, the AFP-PNP initiated this operation in Marawi. We received reliable info on Hapilon and a number of his cohorts. Updates to follow as the operation is still ongoing. Please do not believe propaganda from other groups, ” he added.
Hapilon was reported severely wounded in the series of military operations in Lanao Del Sur early this January.
The former is reportedly the representative of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria terror group in the Philippines.