The Philippine military confirmed Tuesday that one of the leaders of the Maute terrorist group that laid siege to Marawi city is dead, APA reports quoting Anadolu Agency.
“We have four separate reports that indicate that Abdullah Maute is really dead,” Western Mindanao Command chief Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr. said in an interview with a local radio station.
Galvez said the military had also discovered tributes to “Abu Hassan” on social media, referring to Abdullah’s assigned name in Daesh.
Reports of Abdullah’s death surfaced last week, but the military kept mum, saying it had yet to obtain valid physical evidence to confirm it.
The clashes in Marawi erupted on May 23 when Philippine troops sought to arrest high-value Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon, the so-called emir of Daesh in Southeast Asia.
The long-drawn battle with government forces was led by Maute militants and the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group.
Galvez also confirmed that Abdullah’s brother, Omar Maute, remains in the battle zone but is wounded.
Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella also confirmed that Hapilon is alive and still in Marawi city fighting alongside the remaining militants.
"Our forces are hot on their heels, and it will only be a matter of time before we get him," Abella said during a press briefing last Sunday.
The battle in Marawi has created a humanitarian crisis with more than 200,000 residents displaced and 835 deaths, including 645 militants, 145 government troops and 45 civilians.