MANILA — The United States Embassy in Manila on Sunday confirmed that the DNA sample taken from a body in Marawi City was verified to be from Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon, the declared Islamic-State “emir” for Southeast Asia and one of the lead figures in the five-month-long Marawi siege.
“At the request of the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines), a representative of the US Embassy in the Philippines Legal Attache office hand-carried the DNA sample taken from Hapilon’s body to Quantico in Virginia for identify verification,” said US Embassy press attaché Molly Koscina in a statement.
She also confirmed that the result was “positive”.
“This is yet another example of how the US is supporting our friend, partner, and ally in the fight against terror,” she added.
Government forces on Monday killed Hapilon and Omarkhayam Maute, leader of local terrorist Maute group who joined forces with Abu Sayyaf in the attack in Marawi City last May 23, which prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to cut short his visit to Russia and declare martial law.
Following the death of these two terrorist leaders, Duterte on October 17 declared the liberation of Marawi as soldiers continue to go after terrorists in the war-torn city.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana earlier said that US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents retrieved the DNA samples from the recovered bodies of the two terrorist leaders.
Aside from Hapilon, DNA samples of Maute and Malaysian Mahmud Ahmad, alleged financier of the siege are still awaiting verification.
“I shared the information I have at this time,” said Koscina when asked about the schedule for the confirmation’s release.