DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 21 October) — The United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation has confirmed that Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon, the alleged “Emir” of the Islamic State in Southeast Asia is dead.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana announced the FBI’s confirmation in a press statement released Saturday.
He said the FBI confirmed that the DNA sample from a body recovered by the Philippine military in the battlefield in Marawi “matches that of Isnilon Hapilon,”
“This process of verification is also being conducted on the cadavers of the other terrorists that have been recovered so far,” Lorenzana said.
Hapilon and Maute Group leader Omar Maute were reported killed in military operations in the early hours of Monday, October 16.
There has been no confirmation as yet on the DNA sampling taken from the body identified in photographs dispatched by the military as Omar Maute.
On Tuesday, a day after the military reported the death of Hapilon and Maute,
President Rodrigo Duterte visited Marawi and declared it “liberated from the terrorist influence” and that rehabilitation can now begin.
Duterte made the declaration even as operations continued against an estimated 30 terrorists who were still holding some 22 hostages.
Dr. Mahmud Amad, a Malaysian national who was expected to take over the leadership after Hapilon’s death last Monday was reported among 13 terrorists killed Wednesday night but the military as of Friday had yet to retrieve his remains. (MindaNews)