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ASG chief Sahiron willing to surrender

One of the hunters of Radullan Sahiron has confirmed the willingness of the Abu Sayyaf Group leader to surrender due to old age, fatigue, and incessant military pressure.

“There is no definite date yet for his surrender but he has expressed willingness to surrender and as reported to us, he is weak, tired, and weary due to their constant movement from one place to another as our focused military operation against them is unceasing due to our constant rotation of our forces,” said Joint Task Force Sulu commander Brig. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana.

He declined to identify the ASG chief’s emissary but said that he is a close and respected friend of Sahiron.

Sobejana said efforts are still ongoing to ensure that Sahiron’s surrender will materialize.

“We believe that once Radullan surfaces (and surrenders), his followers and other (leaders) will follow,” Sobejana added.

Should this develop, 70 percent of the ASG problem will be solved, the Joint Task Force Sulu commander said.

One of the conditions set by the ASG leader is that the Philippine government will not turn him over to the US government. Sahiron is the leading figurehead of the ASG in Sulu after most of the founding leaders of the group were killed.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has set a $1 million reward for the capture of Sahiron.

Sobejana said that one of the conditions they set is that the ASG chief should also convince his followers to surrender.

Sixteen ASG members have surrendered following the order of President Duterte to finish off the bandit group in six months. The deadline will lapse on June 30.

Over 40 ASG members have been killed in Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi since January.

Meanwhile, an alleged ASG member was killed while 34 suspected drug personalities were arrested in a joint law enforcement operation conducted by the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police in Patikul, Sulu Wednesday.

Sobejana identified the slain ASG member as Jah Adul, alias “Jah.”

He said the operation was conducted by the Army 45th Infantry Battalion and the Sulu in Barangay Danag.

Sobejana said the suspects are said to be combined members of the ASG and drug personalities operating in the area.

He said of the 34 drug personalities captured in the joint law enforcement operation at about 4 a.m., 33 are male while the other is female. (PNA and Francis T. Wakefield)