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Finish off Abu Sayyaf, Duterte orders military

The government is taking a hardline take-no-prisoners strategy in dealing with the Abu Sayyaf Group in the country.

President Duterte has authorized the military to blast away Abu Sayyaf rebels out to sow chaos during the regional summit in the country.

Shortly after offering a P1-million bounty for the capture or death of each ASG member, the President directed government troops to finish off the bandits and give them no quarter even if they surrender.

“I said in the Abu Sayyaf, because there is an ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) meeting now and they went there maybe to kidnap. It’s a long drive actually. And I told the Navy if you see them, the boat, blast them off,” the President said during the launch of “Cine Lokal” festival in Pasay City.

“Do not give me prisoners. I don’t need them. If there’s a fight and they surrender, you refuse, you decline the offer of surrender,” the commander-in-chief added.

Duterte said the government has enough troops and weapons to fight the Abu Sayyaf rebels until they run out of bullets.

“Let’s continue fighting eventually they will run out of bullets. I have plenty of soldiers to spare,” said Duterte, who attended a security briefing in Bohol where the military recently clashed with ASG rebels ahead of an ASEAN ministers’ meeting in the area.

Duterte admitted that local criminals have allied with the Abu Sayyaf group to conduct kidnap-for-ransom activities.

“We are in a bind because the local criminals are in cahoots or has have – has had connections with the Abu Sayyaf in Jolo and Zamboanga,” he said.

He said the small-time criminal gangs kidnap victims and “sell them” to the Abu Sayyaf Group and “then you have a problem.”

The President recently offered a R1-million bounty for any information that will lead to the capture or death of each Abu Sayyaf member behind recent foiled attack in Bohol province.

In his visit to Bohol last Wednesday, Duterte also divulged plans to arm civilians so they could help in the campaign against terrorists in the area. He warned that the ASG might try to “create a disaster for all of us” during the regional summit being held in the country.

A deadly gun battle between government troops and the Abu Sayyaf rebels erupted in Bohol last week. Five rebels reportedly escaped during the clash.

“Dead or alive man ‘yan, may reward, pero mas gusto ko ‘yung dead kasi ‘yung alive, magpakain pa ako ma’am, magastos masyado,” the President said. (GENALYN D. KABILING)