Abyu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon is still in Marawi City, hiding in one of the mosques, said Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Monday as he denied reports that the wanted terrorist had slipped through the military dragnet, according to a report in The Manila Times Online on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, President Rodrigo Duterte has offered an addition of P10 million for the”neutralization” of Hapilon, on top of the $5 million bounty from the US government.
“According to our latest information, he (Hapilon) is still inside Marawi. In fact, there is this information that we got this morning that he is still hiding in one of the mosques there in Mariwi,” Lorenzana said during the “Mindanao Hour” news briefing in Malacanang.
He said the latest information may be correct as the military intelligence group in Basilan had yet to see Hapilon in the island province.
Also on Monday, the Armed Forces of the Philippines said the government was gaining more ground in the battle zone in Marawi City as they were about to clear nearly 100 buildings previously occupied by the Maute terrorists.
Lt-Col Jo-ar Herera, spokesman of the military’s Joint Task Force Marawi, said clearing operations were difficult, given the presence of improvised explosives and booby traps left by the terrorists in each building.
The military said 84 troops and police had been killed along with 39 civilians while the Maute-IS group sustained 337 deaths.
Meanwhile, US ambassador Sung Kim said the US government was willing to help in the rehabilitation of Marawi City.
The fighting in Marawi City has displaced about 72,000 families and left several buildings in ruins.
Source : http://www.manilatimes.net/hapilon-hiding-marawi-mosque/336447/