MANILA — The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Monday said it cannot positively comment with certainty on the alleged death of terrorist leader Abdullah Maute until it has recovered the former’s body or physical evidence showing conclusively that the latter has been neutralized or killed in the ongoing clearing operations.
And in the event that the body has been badly damaged or corrupted, this includes DNA sampling, said AFP public affairs office chief Col. Edgard Arevalo.
Until these requirements are satisfied, Arevalo said, the AFP cannot “100 percent” claimed that the terror chief is killed or neutralized.
“We are continuously taking in information to validate this (Abdullah’s reported death),” Arevalo said, adding that they have no exact information on the time and date of the terror chief’s reported death.
Abdullah is one of the founders of the Maute Group terrorists who ran amuck in Marawi City last May 23 after a botched attempt to arrest Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon and his cohorts.
Another founder is brother Omar whom the AFP public affairs office chief said is still cornered in the main battle area in Marawi City along with Hapilon.
Arevalo issued this statement after confidential sources claimed that Abdullah was killed in one of the air strikes launched against the terror group.
As of this posting, Maute Group members killed in the ongoing clearing operations are placed at 639 along with 145 government troops. Civilians executed are still at 45 while rescued captives are placed at 1,728 along with 672 weapons seized.