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ASG reign of terror over soon – Aquino

ZAMBOANGA CITY – The reign of terror of the Abu Sayyaf Group will soon be over, President Aquino said last Wednesday.

In his recent visit to Zamboanga City, the President expressed confidence about the imminent downfall of the Abu Sayyaf Group led by Isnilon Hapilon and Furuji Indama amid relentless military offensives in Basilan.

“Itong tinutugis natin sa Basilan kasalukuyan, batid naman ninyo kung gaano kabigat ang mga kriminal na pagkatagal-tagal na hinahabol natin,” Aquino told families of the soldiers recently killed in an ASG encounter while in a visit to Zamboanga City.

“Mukhang sa wakas, matatapos na ang lagim na ginawa nila at malaking bahagi ang tinulong ng inyong mga kamag-anak sa pagsupil nitong dalawang pinaghahabol ng lampas dekada na naghahasik ng lagim,” he added.

The commander-in-chief flew to Zamboanga City last Wednesday to meet with the relatives of the 18 soldiers killed in a clash with the ASG in Tipo-Tipo, Basilan clash last weekend, promising government support and pursuit of justice for their loved ones.

Aquino also visited the wake of one of the soldiers killed in the bloody encounter as well as checked the condition of several other injured soldiers at a government hospital here.

In the same meeting with the soldiers’ relatives, Aquino acknowledged that the country is at “war” with the Abu Sayyaf Group that has been implicated in a number of atrocities in recent years.

Aquino said the military would continue the operations against the Abu Sayyaf Group to finally neutralize the bandits once and for all.

Aquino said an official investigation into the deaths of the soldiers will be conducted once the anti-terror operations are finished.