Five Abu Sayyaf rebels have surrendered to the military in the southern Sulu province and another was captured by the police in Zamboanga City, officials said Saturday.
Rear Admiral Rene Medina, the regional navy commander, said the continuous military operations in Sulu, one of 5 provinces under the Muslim autonomous region, has led to the surrender of the rebels.
He identified those who surrendered as Berham Lutian, a sub-leader of the notorious group tied to ISIS; and Abdulsalam Ajul, Simal Sali, Alvin Alibasa and Ahmajir Ahmad. They also yielded weapons and are currently being investigated at an army base in the province.
Chief Inspector Helen Galvez, a regional police spokeswoman, said an Abu Sayyaf fighter, Aizar Latip, is also being interrogated following his capture Friday in Zamboanga City where he was believed on a mission to kidnap civilians.
She said Latip is facing a string of criminal charges and was linked to the June 2007 kidnapping of Italian priest Father Giancarlo Bossi in Zamboanga del Sur’s Payao town; and the deadly attacks on government troops and civilians in Basilan over the last decade.
The Abu Sayyaf is still holding over a dozen Filipino and foreign hostages in both Basilan and Sulu.