Reports that one of the leaders of the Islamic State (IS)-linked Maute Group had been killed are “rehash”, a spokesman for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said.
“The information is a rehash of the previous information about his death,” Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla Jr. said in a text message late Friday, referring to Omarkhayam “Omar” Maute.
“It is still for validation and until such time, we can not categorically say that he died,” he said.
Lt. Col. Jo-ar Herrera, spokesman for Joint Task Force Marawi, had cited “strong indications” that Omar Maute could have been killed during government operations in city.
However, Abdullah, Omar’s brother, and Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon are still in the area, according to Herrera.
Similar reports that Abdullah and Hapilon were killed in the airstrikes launched by the Philippine Air Force in Marawi City have yet to be confirmed.
The Maute brothers led the attacks in Marawi City on May 23. Videos circulated on social media showed that Hapilon was one of those who plotted the siege in the city, majority of whom are Muslims.
As of the latest count, 69 government troops, close to 300 terrorists and 26 civilians have been killed in the fighting. DEMPSEY REYES