World Bulletin / News Desk
In a press conference, Lt. General Carlito Galvez, Western Mindanao Command chief, told reporters there are many indications that Maute leader Abdullah Maute has been killed.
"We have enough basis to arrive at this conclusion," Galvez said, citing chatter over Telegram, a messaging app the Maute group reportedly used to communicate with the Daesh terrorist group.
Abdullah Maute is known as a Daesh-inspired militant and one of the founders of the Dawlah Islamiyah group together with one of his brothers, Omarkhayam, in Mindanao.
He is believed to be -- or have been -- Maute's military operation commander, strategizing for the local terrorist group on the ground. His brother Omarkhayam is reportedly the brains behind the terror group.
The military had previously reported that Omarkhayam was also killed while fighting government forces, but Galvez said on Monday that he turned out to be alive.
"Omar Maute is still alive. He's wounded but still inside, along with Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon," said Galvez.
Airstrikes against Maute positions continued on Monday, and many portions in Marawi city are being cleared and retaken by government troops from militants, who are still holding dozens of civilian hostages, including a Catholic priest and church workers.
When the clashes started in Marawi on May 23, President Rodrigo Duterte immediately declared martial law across Mindanao, the battle for which resulted in the deaths of 614 terrorists, 45 civilians, and 136 soldiers as of Aug. 4.
Meanwhile, Rear Adm. Rene Medina, commander of the Naval Forces in Western Mindanao, confirmed that 11 foreign militants aiding the Maute militants have died from the fighting since May 23.
Medina said the identities of the foreigners are still unknown, although some of them in previous military reports indicated they were from Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, and Saudi Arabia.