Military validating reports of Maute leader's death

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 30 2017 04:18 PM

MARAWI CITY - The military is looking into reports that Abdullah, one of the Maute brothers leading the siege in Marawi, has been killed, the spokespersons of Joint Task Force Marawi said on Sunday. 

"There are reports about these commanders but we're still confirming as to where specifically he is," said Captain Jo-Ann Petinglay, spokesperson of Joint Task Force Marawi.

Last month, the military said there was a "strong indication" that Abudullah's brother Omar was already dead, but was not able to provide any proof of this. 

Reports of Abdullah's possible death first reached the military two weeks ago, Lt. Col. Jo-ar Herrera, spokesperson of Joint Task Force Marawi, said in a press conference in Marawi City.

Petinglay said they are also validating reports that the terrorists have strapped bombs to their hostages and are planning to use them as suicide bombers to further wreak havoc in the war-torn city.

"Wala pa naman tayong incident with that, but then hindi po natin ipinasasaalang-alang 'yung ganung impormasyon because its very possible," she said adding that the terrorists are very desperate.

Lt Gen Carlito Galvez Jr., commander of the Western Mindanao Command, said the Maute group was down to just 60-70 fighters and were holding about 80 hostages. 

"We need to really ensure the safety of hostages because we treasure the hostages' lives as much as we treasure ours," Galvez said.