FIFTEEN terrorists including an Indonesian jihadist have been killed in artillery barrages and air strikes in Butig, Lanao del Sur, Armed Forces chief Gen. Eduardo Año said Sunday.
“According to intelligence reports, a total of 15 already perished from the Maute and Hapilon groups,” Año said, referring to terrorists associated with the Islamic State [ISIS]. “There are ongoing ground operations and we expect there will be encounters forthcoming.”
The Indonesian was identified as “Mohisen,” who was among the small group of followers that Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Isnilon Hapilon took with him from Basilan to Butig to assess the feasibility of establishing a “wilyat” or Islamic province in Central Mindanao, allegedly at the behest of ISIS.
“Based on intelligence reports, there are two more foreign jihadists with Hapilon and the Maute brothers. We’re still trying to get their names from sources on the ground. These foreigners are not necessarily fighters but they look like jihad advisers,” Año said.
Earlier, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Hapilon was seriously wounded in the first salvo against his group and the Maute Group that provided him sanctuary.
Año said Hapilon had to be carried on an improvised stretcher.
“Hapilon badly needs blood transfusion. If he can’t get proper medical treatment, he will die,” the Armed Forces chief said.
The Maute Group is led by brothers Mohammad and Omar, who declared their allegiance to ISIS.
Last year, Hapilon and his men also declared allegiance to ISIS.
Año said foreign jihad advisers were in Mindanao to unite all homegrown terror groups. Aside from ASG and the Mautes, these include the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, a faction of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Ansar al-Khilafa Philippines, and rouge groups from the MILF and Moro National Liberation Front.
Just recently, government troops killed AKP’s leader Mohammad Jaafar Maguid alias Tokboy in a shootout in Sarangani.
The military and police are also monitoring a new umbrella terror organization of all the homegrown terror groups under one banner, Dawlatul Islamiyah Waliyatul Masrik, with Hapilon as their top leader.
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