World Bulletin / News Desk
A DNA test conducted by the U.S. has confirmed that one of the bodies recovered from the strife-torn southern Philippine city of Marawi is Isnilon Hapilon's, who, with a $5 million bounty for his apprehension, was one of the FBI's most wanted terrorists.
A Philippine military official on Friday had disclosed that samples were sent to the FBI following the announced deaths in Marawi last Monday of the Abu Sayyaf group leader Hapilon and Omar Maute, one of the leaders of the Daesh-inspired Maute group.
"The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation has confirmed that the DNA sample taken from a body recovered by our operating units in Marawi matches that of Isnilon Hapilon," Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana was quoted by ABS-CBN News as saying on Saturday.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte also place PHP10 million (over $194,000) and PHP5 million (about $97,000) bounties on Hapilon and Maute’s heads respectively earlier this year.
"This process of verification is also being conducted on the cadavers of the other terrorists that have been recovered so far," said Lorenzana.
The conflict in Marawi erupted on May 23 following a botched arrest of Daesh-linked Abu Sayyaf group leader Hapilon, who was indicted in Washington for his alleged participation in the 2000 Dos Palmas kidnappings of 17 Filipinos and three Americans.
After nearly five months of fighting, Duterte declared Tuesday the liberation of Marawi from Daesh-linked terrorists, saying it marked the beginning of the city's rehabilitation.
The battle in Marawi prompted Duterte to place all of the southern Philippines’ Mindanao islands under martial law which is not set to expire until the year’s end.
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