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Rebel-turned-soldier kidnapped by ASG

A Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) integree turned soldier who was working for peace and progress in Sulu was abducted by the Abu Sayyaf earlier Thursday.

Staff Sergeant Anni Siraji of the 32nd Infantry Battalion (32IB) under the Joint Task Force Sulu was forcibly taken by about seven persons at 9:30 a.m. Thursday while he was heading to Iga-san, Patikul, Sulu.

The perpetrators were believed to be members of the ASG under Julhasan, a known member of ASG leader Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan who operates in Patikul.

It was learned that Julhasan and his cohorts fled with their captive towards sitio Lagaron, Barangay Kabbun takas, Patikul, Sulu.

AFP Western Mindanao Command Chief Lieutenant General Carlito G. Galvez, Jr. espressed his frustration that even a Tausug soldier who is aiming for peace in their community would become a target of the bandits.

“Obviously, the Abu Sayyaf can victimize anyone, even someone from their own tribe,” Galvez said.

A native of Sulu, Siraji joined the AFP through the integration program of the 1996 Final Peace Agreement between the government and the MNLF.

Meanwhile, Galvez urged the residents in Sulu to collectively help the military to end the menace of the ASG.

“I firmly believe that as long as we are together on this, we will be able to disallow these bandits to continue creating havoc and fear to everyone,” said Galvez.

“Therefore, we are calling on all the people of Sulu to join us in this fight.

“For now, we will continue to hunt the perpetrators and the rest of the Abu Sayyaf. We will not stop until we get our soldier back to his family,” he added. (FRANCIS T. WAKEFIELD)