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A total of 16 Abu Sayyaf terrorists have already surrendered to the military from January 1 to April 12, 2017, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) announced yesterday.
AFP chief of staff General Eduardo Año said the 16 Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) members yielded to the Joint Task Forces of the Western Mindanao Command during that period.
Año said of the number, four Abu Sayyaf members surrendered to troops in Basilan, one in Sulu, and 11 in Tawi-Tawi.
On April 8, Abu Sayyaf member Ferdauz Asgari, alias “Mammong”, a known follower of ASG sub-leader Nurhassan Jamiri, also surrendered to the troops of 74th Infantry Battalion in Poblacion, Tipo-Tipo, Basilan. He also turned over his caliber .30 M1 Garand rifle (Springfield) and a clip loaded with eight live ammunition.
“Your armed forces remain committed in sustaining the internal security in Mindanao with the all-out offensives being launched by the Joint Task Forces of the Western Mindanao Command,” he said.
AFP WestMinCom commander Lt. Gen. Carlito G. Galvez Jr., said troops on the ground will continue to work with the local governments and the Mindanaoans in suppressing the Abu Sayyaf and in thwarting the conduct of atrocities within their joint area of operations.
“And this has become fruitful with the surrender of the 16 Abu Sayyaf members in a short span of time,” Galvez said.
“We sincerely welcome these Abu Sayyaf members who have returned to the fold of the law, and encourage the other bandits to join the government and the peace-loving Filipinos in sustaining the peace in Mindanao without the use of arms,” he added.
Galvez said the military continues to put pressure on the Abu Sayyaf as Año left a marching order to suppress the ASG within the time frame provided by President Duterte.
“Then again, we cannot do this without the sincerity and commitment of our partners and the people of Mindanao. We have always pushed for multi-sectoral collaboration as we have achieved more with the involvement of the local government, our stakeholders, and the people,” Galvez said. (FRANCIS T. WAKEFIELD)