Hapilon's death confirmed via DNA test: US Embassy

Isnilon Hapilon. – File

Isnilon Hapilon. – File

The war in Marawi City is at its tailend as soldiers only have to clear just one building where remaining members of the Maute Group are hiding.

"At this point we don't know who really is the leader", Joint Task Force Ranao deputy commander Colonel Romeo Brawner said but also brought up the possibility that Malaysian terrorist Amin Bacu is still alive and could have taken over the leadership.

"We believe there are no more hostages..."

A rescued 16-year-old hostage provided the crucial information that allowed troops to locate Hapilon and Maute in a building in Marawi, he said.

"We have received an official report that the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has confirmed that the DNA sample taken from a body recovered by our operating units in Marawi matches that of Isnilon Hapilon", National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said. "We gave them all the chances to come out together with the hostages and in fact some of them did", he said.

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 Russian Federation and declare martial law.

Brawner said the wives of the terrorists who chose to surrender to the authorities will be treated as non-combatants and will undergo psychosocial debriefing.

"We still can not determine how numerous 30 are dead or how many are still living, but as of noon today, there is still resistance", he added.

Hapilon, leader of the Abu Sayyaf Group, was last known as the anointed Islamic State leader in Southeast Asia.

The number of hostages rescued has now reached 1,780 civilians with government fatalities (soldiers and police killed) still at 165.

Aside from the building occupied by the terrorists, the military is still clearing five buildings in a half a hectare area of the city from unexploded improvised explosive devices.

He said the terrorists could also free the child warriors.

"The death of the ringleaders of the Marawi rebellion which include Omar Maute, Isnilon Hapilon, and Dr. Mahmud Ahmad does not automatically result in the lifting of martial law", said Abella.

"Right now we can not still determine how numerous 30 are dead or how many are still living but definitely as of noon today there is still resistance coming from that one building", he said.

"Our engineering brigade and the DPWH are now starting to clear roads and remove debris caused by the war", he said.

Latest News