MANILA -- No efforts will be spared to ensure the arrest and neutralization of Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon and his cohorts.
This was stressed by AFP public affairs office chief Col. Edgard Arevalo when asked on whether they are still keeping tabs on the whereabouts of the bandit leader.
"(Our latest intelligence reports) on Hapilon indicate that he is still in the main battle area and we have independent sources of information stating that he is still there," he added in Filipino.
And if they really intend to go out fighting as they previously announced, Arevalo said it will be very favorable to the AFP as military units will no longer be tasked or deployed to hunt him down.
Fighting in Marawi City broke out after troops attempted to arrest Hapilon and his allies last May 23.
As of this posting, Maute Group members killed in the ongoing clearing operations are placed at 639 along with 145 government troops. The number of killed civilians are still at 45 while rescued captives are placed at 1,728 along with 672 weapons seized.
Source: Philippine News Agency