‘Abu Sayyaf chief not capable of new attack’

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THE Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) assured the public on Wednesday that Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon, the wanted terrorist said to be the chieftain of the Islamic State (IS) in Southeast Asia, was no longer capable of launching terror attacks outside Marawi City.

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“We don’t believe that he (Hapilon) still has the capability to launch any hostile attack,” AFP spokesman Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla Jr. told reporters during the “Mindanao Hour” news briefing in Malacañang.

Padilla made the assurance following reports that Hapilon may have escaped from conflict-torn Marawi City, where government troops are locked in battle with Maute group terrorists attempting to establish an IS province.

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

The military official emphasized that Hapilon’s alleged escape had yet to be “validated,” as it could be disinformation meant to lower the military’s guard.

“It’s an act of cowardice, if he abandoned his fellow terrorists from inside. And showing that he fled from the battle and left many more of his companions inside would not sit well and may be indicative of infighting that is occurring among them,” Padilla said.

The AFP however said it was “safer to assume that the enemies we’re looking for are still there.”

“That is where we’re working at and that is where our focus is, until such time we have sufficient proof to say otherwise,” Padilla said.

“It is important that he be caught dead or alive and it is in the interest of our country [because]he’s been wanted for a long time,” he added.

The Abu Sayyaf leader was indicted in the United States for his alleged involvement in the kidnapping of three Americans in the Philippines in 2001. The US government has placed a $5-million bounty on his head.

Hapilon was the target of government security forces in an entrapment launched on May 23, but the attempt to arrest him was foiled as they engaged in a firefight with Islamist armed men.

Fighting among government troops and extremists in Marawi City forced President Rodrigo Duterte to declare martial rule in Mindanao.

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6 Comments

  1. As long as the money from the yellows and the drug cartels is pouring into the pockets of the terrorists they will keep recruiting more terrorists and even importing some highly skilled and experienced ones. The Americans are also supporting these terrorists so they can weaken Duterte’s government and convince him to rely on the U.S like his puppet predecessor.

  2. Jose Samilin on

    Meron pa nakasulat na (“assured”) kalokohan yan, manigurado ka sa butas na bao?? Kahit itaga mo sa bato, papalpak ito si AFP Chief Padilla, dahil mali ang kanyang intel at dala lamang na gustong mapabuti sa tingin ang AFP na kinabibilngan nya, Sana mas mabuti na sinabi nya (in humility) na paghandaan natin ang “mas posibling pag ataki na malakas na puersa.”

  3. juan delacruz on

    The AFP Chief and Toto Padilla, have never learned the word “HUMILITY”. Instead of briefing the public on the AFP accomplishments, with the help of allies such as U.S., Australia, nagyabang pa ang mga mokong na’to. Toto, sabihin mo sa bossing mo na hindi pa tapos ang laban at alalahanin ninyo na walang sigurado sa buhay. You can never be proud on casualty ratio 1:4.2, which is extremely high. One soldier killed for every 4 terrorists killed. Soldiers were tactically trained and well disciplined in combat environment; terrorists were not. Toto Padilla should be doing some analysis and take note on what training the AFP needs in the future to improve the survival rates of soldiers in combat environment.

    One thing that most of us failed to understand is that, Isnilon Hapilon, already established connections and already networked with the ISIS. He has been designated as the ISIS Philippines, by their higher up (like CNN Philippines, Rappler Philippines) and what this means is that, he can easily recruit another group of terrorists locally, or from overseas that can easily imported to Mindanao. As far as financing their evil activities, that would not be a problem because this evil organization have, literally, tons of money. Can anybody guess why we have so many foreign terrorists in the country? The last time the AFP Intelligence count was 89, and there maybe more, or on their way here to replenish their dead comrades. The “dynamic” of money cannot be under estimated.

    To soldiers and everybody involved in liberating Marawi, this quote is for you. “Blessed are the peacekeepers for they will be call the children of GOD”. Thank you for your service to the Nation.

  4. That does not mean that you can stop. These gangsters need to be killed or caught. If you let them go they will return to avenge their cause. This business of trying to time limit the commitment or expecting victory by whatever date should not be entertained.