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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

AFP: Isnilon Hapilon not capable of sowing terror outside Marawi

ISNILON Hapilon, who is believed to be the Islamic State (IS) emir in Southeast Asia, could not mount another terror attack outside Marawi City, a military spokesperson said Wednesday.

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson Brigadier General Restituto Padilla Jr. said Hapilon, leader of local bandit group Abu Sayyaf, now lacks the capacity to create chaos in the southern Philippines after the security forces foiled the Jihadist extremists’ plan to establish a caliphate for IS fighters.

"We don't believe he (Hapilon) still has the capacity to launch any hostile acts," Padilla told a press conference.

"There have been significant developments in the past few weeks [in Marawi City]. And his capacity to sow terror, on the scale we observed in Marawi, he could not do that," he added.

Padilla's statement came after reports that Hapilon may have escaped Marawi City.

The fighting in the besieged city was a result of botched military operation to arrest Hapilon on May 23. The government forces launched an entrapment operation against Hapilon but they were instead assailed by armed men.

The mayhem forced President Rodrigo Duterte to place Mindanao under martial law.

Padilla said the information that Hapilon already fled Marawi still has to be validated.

He said it was "an act of cowardice," if it is true that Hapilon had left Marawi City.

But on the part of AFP, Padilla said it was "safer" to assume that Hapilon is still holed up in Marawi City.

He also said that it is important that Hapilon be caught "dead or alive."

"It is important that he be caught dead or alive. And it is interest of our country because he’s been wanted for a long time," he said. (SunStar Philippines)

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