From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 30): 94 Abu Sayyaf bandits killed in 6 months
The Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) reported they have killed 94 members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) while 164 have surrendered and apprehended as the deadline imposed by President Rodrigo Duterte to crush the ASG within six-month period lapsed on Friday.
Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr., commander of Westmincom, said the troops will continue to run after the ASG within their area of operations, which included the entire western part of Mindanao and Central Mindanao.
“Rest assured that with all these operational feats, we we will not rest on our laurels and will, instead, continue to work hard and integrate the efforts of our soldiers and our stakeholders in sustaining the internal security in Mindanao and bringing about the defeat of the Abu Sayyaf [Group],” Galvez said.
The military all-out campaign launched by the line units of Westmincom since January this year resulted to the deaths of 94 hard-core ASG members, apprehension of 66 others, surrender of 98, and recovery of 148 firearms.
On Thursday, June 29, two more ASG members surrendered to the Joint Task Force Basilan headed by Col. Juvymax Uy.
Serham Hasim Akkalun and Hapid Madjakin surrendered to the 13th Special Forces Company of the Army’s 4th Special Forces Battalion in Barangay Guinanta, Albarka, Basilan.
“We welcome those who return to the fold of the law and accord them the opportunity to live normal lives, far from what they have been facing before as combatants who engaged the government forces and who fight for extremism to thrive in Mindanao,” Galvez said.
“On the tactical level, the combat operations of our troops are currently being intensified to pressure the Abu Sayyaf bandits to yield to the government forces. With the surrender of the bandits and the seizure of their strongholds, we are confident that our offensives on the ground are effective,” Uy said.
Brig. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, Jr., Joint Task Force Sulu commander, said they have significantly decreased the capability of the Sulu-based ASG to launch kidnappings and attacks.
“There will be no let up in our operations against the ASG,” he said.
Brig. Gen. Custodio Parcon, Joint Task Force Tawi-Tawi commander, said the trilateral maritime patrol (TMP) boosted their defense and thwart ASG from hijacking commercial ships in the area.
TMP initiative of the Indonesia, Malaysia and Philippines (IndoMalPhil) was launched in Tarakan Island, Indonesia.
Parcon oversees the operations of the Maritime Command Center in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi under the Joint Task Force IndoMalPhil.
The establishment of the maritime command centers is part of the agreement of the three nations. The other two centers are in Tarakan, Indonesia, and Tawau, Malaysia.