From News5/InterAksyon (Dec 31): Westmincom report: 128 ASG, 182 BIFF members killed in 2017 operations by 6 military joint TFs
Westmincom chief Lt Gen Carlito Galvez. (PNA FILE)
Intensified operations in 2017 by all six Joint Task Forces under the Western Mindanao Command against the different threat groups in their respective areas of operation led to significant results in the all-out campaign of the command, a yearend report said Sunday.
A total of 352 members of the Abu Sayyaf were neutralized since January 1, 2017 through offensives launched by these Joint Task Forces: Sulu, under Brigadier General Cirilito Sobejana; Basilan, under Brigadier General Juvymax Uy; Tawi-Tawi, under Brigadier General Custodio Parcon, Jr.; and Zamboanga, under Colonel Leonel Nicolas, said the report from the Westmincom’s headquarters.
The Westmincom report added that from January 2017, at least 144 Abu Sayyaf members surrendered to government forces (70 in Basilan, 53 in Sulu, and 21 in Tawi-Tawi).
This represents 41% of the neutralized bandits this year.
The combat operations with ASG involved a total of 53 encounters (20 in Basilan, 29 in Sulu, 3 in Tawi-Tawi, and 1 in Zamboanga.
“With our intensified combat and law enforcement support operations, 128 Abu Sayyaf bandits were killed and 80 were apprehended in Western Mindanao”, said Lieutenant General Carlito G Galvez, Jr., Westmincom commander.
“A total of 223 firearms of the Abu Sayyaf were recovered, seized, and surrendered by/to the Joint Task Forces.”
Against the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, the sustained operations of the Joint Task Force Central under Major General Arnel Dela Vega resulted in the neutralization of 243 members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters in Central Mindanao since January 1, 2017.
At least 182 of the neutralized BIFF members were killed during armed confrontations, 24 were apprehended, and three yielded to the government forces.
At least 26 soldiers were killed in action in fighting the Abu Sayyaf, and seven in their operations against the BIFF, added Galvez.
Meanwhile, since January 1, 2017, there were a total of 44 armed confrontations with the BIFF.
Thirty-eight firearms were recovered and seized by the troops from the group.
Westmincom noted that “the joint security operation and strategic alliance with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front contributed to our success in our operations.”
“Ultimately, our efforts will continue to sustain our development support operations in Mindanao, through our interagency and stakeholders’ engagements and our commitment in supporting the law enforcement operations of different agencies.”