A military chief, General Eduardo Ano, told reporters yesterday, "Isnilon Hapilon and the last of the dreaded Maute brothers, Omarkhayam, are both dead." The Straits Times Reported yesterday that Isnilon Hapilon, the leader of Dawlah Islamiyah (ISIS) in the Philippines and Omarkhayam — the last of the separatist Maute brothers were killed.
The Dawlah Islamiyah (ISIS) leaders had been eembattled in fighting in Marawi for close to five months. Marawi is the southern Phillipine city in Mindano that had been sieged leaving large segments of it in ruins.
Al-Qaida trained Mahmud Ahmad is believed to have replaced Hapilon as the regional Philippine leader reporting to ISIS in Syria. Tackling Ahmad will lead to an end of entrenched ISIS leadership in the region.
The disruption of ISIS leadership and demise of the Mautes deals a large financial and organizational blow to the terrorist organization. The Mautes, who had lead a southern linked separatist movement for years called the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in Lanao el Sur, Mindano (Phillipines).
Abdalah Maute, Omarkhayam’s brother who was killed previously — founded Dawlah Islamiyah — which became ISIS in the Philippines. Disruption of the leadership is a significant step forward, as over 1000 militant, Philippine troops and civilian casualties had occurred around Marawi. However, Mindano will still be at risk moving forward — as the insurgency has still not come to a full closure.
It’s important to note that the longstanding entrenchment of MILF rebels that dates back decades will need to be tackled by the government of Phillipines President Rodrigo Duterte, in addition to the rebuilding of Marawi — which is largely in ruins.
Oz Sultan is a leading Big Data and counterterrorism expert who focuses on anti-recruiting and ISIS counterterror (CT) research within social media. He also advises a number of Fortune 1000 companies and is Adjunct Faculty at City University of New York (CUNY) Baruch. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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