MANILA - The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) maintained Thursday that government troops wounded Isnilon Hapilon back in April, amid a supposedly new video that showed the terrorist appeared to be in good health.
AFP Chief of staff Eduardo Año, who earlier confirmed that it was Hapilon in a recent video, maintained that the terror leader was wounded in their April operations in Butig, Lanao del Sur, "but somehow he has recovered."
"Pero dun naman sa video, naka-upo lang naman siya, hindi naman nakitang naglalakad at nakakatayo siya or nakakalakad siya nang straight...One of our sources said Hapilon is still recuperating, he’s not fully physically able," he told ANC's Dateline Philippines.
Año added, Hapilon was visibly "not the normal Hapilon that we used to know" who was "very assertive" and would try to control even small meetings, but in the video, it was the Maute brothers who were "in control."
"It’s a compromise among different terror groups to unite and have Hapilon as the emir or the leader. That doesn’t mean that operations will be controlled by Hapilon," he said.
"We’re in the territory of the Maute, controlling the Maranao’s Maute group and you can see that the Maute brothers know the area very well. They have their supporters and system of support apparatus," he added.
A video that recently surfaced showed Hapilon plotting the Marawi siege, which broke out on May 23, with leaders of local extremist group, the Maute Group.
Hapilon, the supposed Islamic State emir in Southeast Asia, was supposedly the target of the a military operation, which the Maute Group tried to prevent by launching attacks in the southern city.