The Philippine government confirmed on Monday the death of Isnilon Hapilon, Emir of ISIS in Southeast Asia, gunned down in fighting between soldiers and jihadists in the city of Marawi, taken partially in May by Islamists.
Philippine Defense Minister Delfin Lorenzana said Hapilon perished with Omar Maute, another of the guerrilla leaders, during the offensive of government troops. The bodies will be tested for DNA to confirm the identities, said the government representative. However, photographs have been filtered in the local media, where the mortal remains of the alleged guerrillas are seen. Hapilon appears with the eyes and part of the face bloodied, beard and black clothes, a dress similar to that worn by Omar Maute.
The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) offered five million dollars for the capture of Hapilon, who was born on March 18, 1966 in Papala, population of the island of Basil, located about 890 kilometers south of Manila.
The Marawi conflict began on 23 May last, when hundreds of Filipino and foreign jihadists led by the Maute group rose up in arms in the city, captured hostages, burned several government buildings, and marched through the streets with Flags of ISIS. On the same day, the President of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, declared martial law in the region and ordered the military to liberate the population.
Since then, at least 673 rebels, 149 soldiers and police and 47 civilians have died in the conflict, while some 600,000 people were displaced.
The Filipino army, which estimates that there are less than half a hundred jihadists, announced in early September that Abdullah Maute, Omar's brother and another of the insurgent leaders, had died in Marawi in August.