By Francis T. Wakefield
Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon, and the leaders of the Daesh-inspired Maute group – Omar Maute, Dr. Mamud and Amin Bako as well as six to nine foreign terrorists are still alive, some are wounded, and are hiding in Marawi.
Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez, Jr., commander of the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Western Mindanao Command (AFP-WestMinCom) disclosed this even as he revealed that the terrorists are still holding 28 hostages and around 33 of their dependents.
Galvez expressed confidence that they could neutralize them soon.
“That is why we are moving slowly. They are considered dangerous and very aggressive… very aggressive and desperate,” he stressed
“Based doon sa revelation na may 12 children and 16 women (na bihag pa sila) may 31 or 33 dependents of Maute and Abu Sayyaf. Dala nila iyung pamilya (Aside from the 12 children and 16 women, the Maute and Abu Sayyaf have 31 to.33 dependents They brought with them their families),” Galvez said.
“That’s why we are calling their attention na yung lahat ng nandun (all of them there) should be separated. As much as possible non-combatants are non military targets,” he said.
To air their appeal, a helicopter was sent to the area and dropped a bottle containing instructions to non combatants on where they should go.
“Those who want to surrender are also given instructions on what to do…to preclude collateral damage from non combatants.
“Maganda yung latag ng forces natin. We are very confident na kayang-kaya natin ito. The commander (on the ground) reported to me that there is positive development ongoing right now,” he said.
Galvez also said that they received report that three of the foreign terrorists were wounded in their previous airstrikes. He also expressed belief that Omar Maute was hurt during their assault in Bato Mosque.
“I believe Omar was wounded during the assault in Bato Mosque. He was wounded considering that during the assault of Bato Mosque there were more than 15 killed Maute in the area and we believe that Omar was the overall leader in Bato mosque. That’s that the report from the ground,” Galvez said.
Galvez said the area where the Maute Group still has control is around four to five hectares.
“Based doon sa information naming, the last defense that they have is the sector they are currently defending. It is being defended by Amin Baku, by Isnilon Hapilon, by Omar Maute and by Dr. Mamud. Those four are still alive but we are very confident that most probably wala na talaga silang lulusutan (they can no longer escape),” Galvez said.
“As much as possible, we want to isolate them so they won’t be collaterals. That’s our rule of engagement,” he added.
Tags: Abu Sayyaf, Abu Sayyaf Maute leaders behind Marawi siege still alive very aggressive and desperate – AFP, Amin Bako, Carlito Galvez, Isnilon Hapilon, Jr., Maute Group, Maute Group in Marawi City, Omar Maute