Despite the heavy air and artillery assaults on identified terrorists' positions, it is likely that leaders of the ISIS-inspired Maute and Abu Sayyaf Groups are still alive, said Philippine military officials.
"We have received reports that terror leaders Isnilon Hapilon, Abdullah Maute and Omar Maute are still alive and they are still in Marawi City," General Restituto Padilla of the Philippine military was quoted saying.
The Philippine government offered the amount of USD 200,000 money reward to those who can provide any information that will lead to the arrest of Hapilon. Moreover, a reward of USD 100,000 will be given to anyone who can provide information about the current location of either Abdullah and Omar Maute.
Thousands of Philippine soldiers were deployed in Marawi City to battle heavily armed 700 Maute and Abu Sayyaf Groups on May 23 and the battle is going on since then. The military said that after a bloody fight for over three months; only a hundred of them, occupying two villages, are left.
Meanwhile, last Sunday, six bombs exploded in Marantao, a municipality adjacent to Marawi City following which a investigation was ordered. The explosion came as a shock as the region falls outside the battle zone.
One army unit claimed that the bombs were either planted or were fired from the terrorists camp. However, according to the spokesman of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) General Restituto Padilla, they are still investigating the bomb incident.
With the Marawi battle entering its 78th day, it is reported that 690 terrorists and 122 security forces personnel have been killed.