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Aging ASG leader plans to surrender

ZAMBOANGA CITY – A top military official disclosed that Abu Sayyaf one-armed and senior leader Radullan Sahiron plans to surrender to the government.

“Radullan Sahiron is contemplating to surrender because he is old,” Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr., chief of the Armed Forces Western Mindanao Command, said.

Galvez said that one of the conditions of Sahiron is for the government “not to turn him over to the US government” when he surrenders.

Sahiron is the leading figurehead of the Abu Sayyaf Group in Sulu after most of the founding leaders of the ASG were killed. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has set a $1-million reward for the capture of Sahiron.

“We see that not only those in the lower ranks of the ASG are expressing their desire to surrender because they’re already feeling the heat of the military operation. And they also feel the sincerity of the President to accept people who wanted to surrender,” Galvez said.

Galvez said they were employing “non-lethal” approach in addressing the problem of the Abu Sayyaf. Among them is the opening of a rehabilitation program.

He said they are replicating this approach from their military counterparts in Indonesia and Malaysia.

Galvez said the same tactic was used in “decimating” the networks of the Jemaah Islamiyah.

He said the rehabilitation for the Abu Sayyaf is not just open to the least members. “Even hardcore members are allowed to be rehabilitated. Alternative options are open to them. We might resolve the problem of the Abu Sayyaf Group peacefully,” he said.

“We know the story of the prodigal son…We should not closed the door for those who want to have a new beginning,” Galvez said. (PNA)

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