MARAWI CITY, Philippines – Government intelligence has showed the military commander of the Maute Group-led terrorists who laid siege to this Islamic city since May 23, Abdullah Maute, may have been killed last month in an air strike.
Postings on Facebook and chatter over the past two days on Telegram, a messaging application used by Islamic State and its sympathizers, had carried tributes to Abdullah, referring to him by one of his pseudonyms, according to Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez, chief of the Western Mindanao Command.
“There is no 100 percent confirmation until we see his cadaver but this is enough to presume he died already,” he said.
The military has contradictory statements about the status of the rebel leaders over the past few months.
Abdullah Maute and brother Omarkhayam are the Middle East-educated leaders of a militant clan known as the Maute group that has gained notoriety in the past two years due to its ability to engage the army for long periods.
Under the name Dawla Islamiya, the Maute group has formed an alliance with Isnilon Hapilon, a leader of a pro-Islamic State faction of another group, Abu Sayyaf.
Galvez said the army’s intelligence indicated both Omarkhayam and Hapilon, Islamic State’s anointed “emir” in Southeast Asia, were still in the Marawi battle.