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Beheading of captive soldier condemned

Malacañang has condemned the Abu Sayyaf Group’s “barbaric” beheading of a kidnapped soldier and pledged to bring the notorious bandits to justice.

“We strongly condemn the beheading of Staff Sergeant Anni Siraji of the 32nd Infantry Battalion,” presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said in a statement.

“This is our assurance to the family of Staff Sergeant Siraji: That we would not stop until justice is served. Let us work against common criminals to have safer and more secure communities,” Abella said.

Siraji, a former Moro National Liberation Front member integrated into the military, was found beheaded after the military killed three ASG members during a recent clash.

He was abducted in Patikul, Sulu last Thursday while on his way for a peace and development mission, Abella said.

The soldier’s cadaver was found in Sitio Kan Suil, Barangay Tagbili, Patikul last Sunday afternoon.

“While Staff Sergeant Siraji was a soldier, he was a MNLF member who decided to trade his rifle as a fighter to become a peacemaker and agent of development to his fellow Tausugs,” Abella said.

“This barbaric act committed by ASG to a fellow Tausug has no place in a civilized society,” he added.

As government troops hunt down the terrorists, Malacañang appealed anew for public vigilance against the ASG.

“We call on all citizens to remain vigilant, alert, and watchful and to cooperate with our security forces as our troops continues to pursue this bandit group and hold them accountable for their brutal and senseless crimes,” he said.

The President recently threatened to place Mindanao on lockdown to finish off terrorists linked to the recent kidnappings, beheadings, and bombings in the region.

Duterte said he would put an end to all the problems in Minda-nao if he declares Martial Law in the region. (Genalyn D. Kabiling)