MANILA, Philippines – Omarkhayam Maute is already dead, his brother Abdullah is still alive and is ready to die in Marawi as his group is being besieged by government forces, and Abu Sayyaf senior leader Isnilon Hapilon is nowhere to be found and is believed to have brought with him a cache of gold and bulks of cash.
These are the pieces of information received by the military from the terrorists’ kin and individuals who had escaped from the hands of the Islamist extremists about the three leaders of the Maute and Abu Sayyaf groups whose forces are thinning out as they wrangle over money and power, according to Lt. Col. Jo-ar Herrera, spokesperson of Joint Task Force Marawi.
“These are all reports na need idaan sa proseso [that need to undergo processing] for verification, validation,” Herrera said on Monday, July 3, during an interview with radio dzRH.
“Mayroon tayo uling nakausap na escapee, confirmed na daw na namatay si Omar…Si Abdullah may mga kamag-anak na sabi niya dito na s’ya mamamatay [We talked to another escapee who confirmed that Omar has already died…According to his relatives, Abdullah told them that he would die here (Marawi)],” said Herrera.
Hapilon, meanwhile, is reportedly no longer in command of the terrorists and could not be contacted anymore by his group and is said to have amassed a big portion of the gold bars and cash that the terrorists pillaged from the houses of wealthy Marawi residents.
“Hindi (s’ya) namomonitor. Tinitingan kung saan ‘yong whereabouts n’ya. ‘Yan din kinakagalit ng fighters dahil command and control nawala. Balita sa hatiian… napakalaki raw ang napunta sa kanya (Hapilon). Di na daw s’ya makontak, wala na nagli-lead…” said Herrera.
[He could no longer be monitored. We are checking on his whereabouts. That’s also what the fighters are getting angry about because there’s no longer command and control. Hapilon reportedly got a very big share from the loot. He could no longer be contacted, nobody’s leading the group.]
Father Teresito “Chito” Soganub, the priest kidnapped by the terrorists, is alive according to the escapees.
“Buhay po s’ya, kasama sa parang hostage area. Nagse-serve pa rin ng pagkain, tagaluto. Visual po nakita ng mga nakapanayam natin [He is alive and is staying in a hostage area. He still serves food and cook for the terrorists. The escapees we interviewed saw him.]