Isnilon Hapilon is a senior leader of the Abu Sayyaf Group, a foreign terrorist organization operating in the southern Philippines. The group and its leadership are integrated with the worldwide network of Islamic terrorists, including Jemaah Islamiyah and al-Qaida.
Hapilon was involved in the 2001 Dos Palmas incident in which 20 individuals were kidnapped, including three Americans.
On May 27, 2001, the ASG kidnapped three American citizens from the Dos Palmas Resort on Palawan in the Philippines. The three Americans were identified as Guillermo Sobero and Martin and Gracia Burnham, an American missionary couple. On June 11, 2001, the ASG spokesman, Abu Sabaya, claimed he had had Guillermo Sobero executed as a “birthday present” for Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. On October 7, 2001, a human skull was recovered from Basilan Island, which was found to be that of Guillermo Sobero. In June 2002, Martin Burnham died in the crossfire between the Filipino soldiers and the ASG; Gracia Burnham was injured, but was rescued and repatriated to the United States.
Hapilon was indicted in the District of Columbia for his alleged involvement in terrorist acts against U.S. nationals and other foreign nationals in and around the Republic of the Philippines.