MANILA — The military is now determining reports that Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) leader Isnilon Hapilon may have been killed during an air strike early this year.
The announcement was made by President Rodrigo Duterte who also said that nothing more has been heard from the ASG leader and allegedly the anointed ISIS leader in the Philippines.
“The President said he believes Hapilon might be dead because the latter was seriously wounded and no word from him was heard since then. There are raw reports but we still have no confirmation that Hapilon is really dead. Operations against his group will continue in Lanao provinces and Basilan,” said Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief-of-staff Gen. Eduardo Año on Tuesday.
“Our last info on him was sometime February and he was being carried by four ASG members transferring from one temporary base to another in the hinterlands of Butig,” he added.
The brand-new South Korean-made FA-50 “Fighting Eagle” are the aircraft who spearheaded the bombing raid against Hapilon’s hideout in Butig, Lanao Del Sur last Jan. 25.
Año’s view were shared by AFP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla.
“We have no info as of this date, this is why the President said ‘supposes.’ We will continue ongoing efforts to ascertain this,” he noted. Priam Nepomuceno/PNA-northboundasia.com