Military still verifying Hapilon’s escape

By on June 9, 2017

Isnilon Hapilon. (Federal Bureau of Investigation photo)
Isnilon Hapilon. (Federal Bureau of Investigation photo)

MANILA — Ranking defense and military officials are still confirming reports that Abu Sayyaf leader and allegedly the ISIS emir in Southeast Asia, Isnilon Hapilon, has escaped the military dragnet in Marawi City where operations are ongoing to eliminate the remaining Maute Group remnants.

“We are still verifying (this report), ” Department of National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said when asked on the matter by the PNA.

The same views was shared by Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla when queried on the same matter.

“This is not confirmed. Major Gen. (Rolando) Bautista mentioned he (Hapilon) is still inside,” he added.

Padilla added that operations are now underway to locate the terrorist leader as of this posting.

Earlier reports claimed that Hapilon managed to elude military forces out to neutralize him and his fellow terrorists in Marawi City.

Fighting in the city started last May 23 when military forces attempted to arrest the terrorist leader. In the almost three weeks of fighting, 138 lawless elements were killed along with 39 troopers and police officers.

Also killed were 20 unarmed civilians.