Isnilon Totoni Hapilon (March 18, 1966 or March 10, 1968 – October 16, 2017), also known by the nom de guerreAbu Abdullah al-Filipini ("Abu Abdullah the Filipino"), was a Filipino Islamist militant affiliated with ISIS.
Hapilon started elementary school in 1978, at the age of 10 or 12, enrolling at Maluso Central Elementary School. He had a perfect attendance from the first to the fifth grade, but had 28 days of absence and six days of tardiness in his sixth grade claiming that he had to "run errands"; he finished in 1984 with an average grade of 78%. He then enrolled at Basilan National High School, but his transcript ends with his first year even though he was eligible to proceed to second year.
In an interview with the Philippine Daily Inquirer, former Lantawan mayor Tahira Ismael, Hapilon's madrasa classmate, claimed that Hapilon "performed poorly in academics".
On May 31, 2017, the University of the Philippines issued a statement refuting the earlier reports, declaring that they have no record of an alumnus or former student named Isnilon Hapilon.
To help identify Hapilon, the US government described his personality as "likable by peers; proud and confident in his abilities" and his physique as "skinny; may have chin hair and slight mustache", being 5 ft. 5 in (1.65 m) to 5 ft. 7 in (1.70 m) tall and weighing around 120 lb (54 kg).
In July 2002, Philippine authorities raided Hapilon's suspected hideout in Zamboanga City with the intention of arresting him. However, he managed to escape prior to their arrival.
In May 2008, Hapilon was shot in the hand during a military operation in Jolo. His son, Tabari, also an Abu Sayyaf fighter, was fatally wounded.
Hapilon was wounded in April 2013, in a military offensive that killed eight other Islamist militants in Tipo-Tipo, Basilan. Hapilon sustained a "slight wound" on the head during the raid, but his followers managed to drag him off safely before the soldiers could seize control of their base. There were United States intelligence reports claiming he may have suffered a stroke at some point.
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in the Philippines
On April 9, 2016, Hapilon and Basilan-based commander Furuji Indama led 100 to 150 Abu Sayyaf fighters on an attack against government forces in Tipo-Tipo, Basilan. At least eighteen soldiers were killed and more than fifty other soldiers were wounded in the ten-hour shootout. Hapilon's son, Ubaida, was among the five Abu Sayyaf fighters killed in the encounter. Additional government forces were deployed to capture or kill Hapilon.
A June 21, 2016 video by ISIL entitled "The Solid Structure" recognized Hapilon as the mujahid authorized to lead the jihadists of the Islamic State in the Philippines, and designated him as the emir for Southeast Asia. The video also called on Southeast Asian Islamist militants to travel to the Philippines and engage in jihad.
As of January 2017, ISIL acknowledged him as their member. He was known to be in Butig, Lanao del Sur for rectifying the Maute group and joining Abu Sayyaf to establish Islamic State in the Philippines. He was later promoted as emir of the "Philippine Province".
In October 16, Isnilon and Omar Maute were killed in a military operation in Marawi, which rescued 17 hostages. The deaths were confirmed by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana. Lorenzana announced on October 21 that the FBI confirmed that the DNA sample of a body recovered by AFP matched that of Hapilon. This was confirmed by Lamont Siller, the FBI's legal attaché at the Embassy of the United States, Manila as well as the embassy's spokeswoman Molly Koscina.
^Abu Sayyaf used to be affiliated with al-Qaeda: Abu Sayyaf founder Abdurajak Abubakar Janjalani met Osama bin Laden, the founder of al-Qaeda, during the Soviet–Afghan War (1979–89). Abu Sayyaf was then funded by al-Qaeda through Mohammad Jamal Khalifa, a brother-in-law to bin Laden.ISIS, another militant group, was affiliated with al-Qaeda from October 2004 to February 2014, when al-Qaeda publicly disavowed any relations with ISIS after an eight-month power struggle. Other armed Islamist groups previously affiliated with al-Qaeda, including the Abu Sayyaf, eventually pledged allegiance to ISIS. This resulted in ISIS becoming more powerful than al-Qaeda.