Top Filipino militant wounded in army attack but escaped
MANILA (REUTERS) - A Filipino Islamist militant leader, who has a US$5 million (S$6.2 million) American bounty on his head, was wounded but managed to escape in an army offensive that killed eight rebels in the southern Philippines, a military official said on Tuesday.
Isnilon Hapilon, a known leader of the Al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf Group, was hit in the military raid but his followers were able to drag him to safety before soldiers could seize control of the rebels' jungle base, said Colonel Carlito Galvez, brigade commander.
"We have information that Hapilon was wounded during the encounter," Col Galvez told reporters. "Our boys found two bodies but we were told six more Abu Sayyaf members were also killed."
Hapilon, 47, is the only one of five Abu Sayyaf leaders still alive. They were all indicted in the United States for the kidnapping of American nationals in the Philippines in 2001.