BUTIG, Lanao del Sur — Isnilon Hapilon, tagged by the FBI as a terrorist leader and wanted by US authorities, was allegedly injured following a military offensive against terror groups here Thursday midnight.
Sources told ABS-CBN News said Hapilon wasn't killed but was severely injured in the arm and had to be carried by other terrorists as they escaped.
The military on Thursday night launched a surgical air strike against terror groups.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana confirmed that the Islamic State in Syria has recognized local terrorist groups such as the Abu Sayyaf and the Maute, prompting Hapilon to transfer to Butig from Basilan to establish a base for ISIS operations in the country.
Military forces are still hunting down Hapilon, who may be in the company of Abu Sayyaf and Maute groups.
According to Butig government officials, residents reported seeing Hapilon being accompanied by a foreigner.
“Ayon sa aking impormasyon, kasamang dumating ng grupo ni Hapilon ay mga foreigner. May isang Indonesian, sana kung kapatid silang mga Muslim ay huwag na silang gumawa ng gulo dito, kasi hindi na makabalik sa ayos ang mga kababayan namin, maawa sila,” said Adam Pansar Hadji Amer, head of the association of barangay chairmen in Butig.
(Based on my information, Hapilon’s group arrived with foreigners. One is an Indonesia. I hope that if they are Muslim brothers then they should no longer cause trouble here because residents cannot return to their normal lives. They should have pity.)
Butig Mayor Jimmy Pansar also expressed his anger against the terrorists, saying they will not allow terror operations in the town.
“Dati ako ay galit, ngayon ako ay galit na galit. They are destroying this town. Hindi kami papayag na gawin nila ito,” Pansar said.
(This makes me really angry. We will not allow them to do this.)