MANILA, Philippines — Mutual Defense Treaty ally United States of America lauded the Armed Forces of the Philippines for successfully neutralizing terror leaders Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute in Marawi City last Monday.
In a statement, US Embassy in Manila press attaché Molly Koscina expressed how the Philippines' longtime ally is proud to support the counter-terrorism efforts in Mindanao.
"We congratulate our partners in the Armed Forces of the Philippines for their reported success in killing two of the leaders behind the months-long clash in Marawi: Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute," Koscina said. *
"The United States of America is proud to support the Armed Forces of the Philippines counter-terrorism efforts in Mindanao through intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities, and other technical assistance," she added.
Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute were killed in a military operation before dawn on Monday, signaling the approaching end of a months-long campaign to rid the Islamic city of extremist militants.
Isnilon Hapilon had long been on the US Federal Bureau of Investigation's list of most wanted terrorists. The US Department of State had offered $5 million for information leading to his capture.
Maute, meanwhile, was a figurehead of the pro-Islamic State Maute group along with his brother, Abdullah, who was reported killed in September. The two led a group that attempted to lay siege on the city in May.
President Rodrigo Duterte announced that the besieged city is now free from terrorists on its 148th day of armed conflict. The military, however, said it was still pursuing foreign militants including a Malaysian recruiter in Marawi.
Press attaché Koscina, meanwhile, said the United States of America will continue its coordination with the local government.
“We will continue working with our Filipino friends, partners and allies to eradicate violent extremism and terrorism,” she added. *
Report from philstar