Friday, April 17, 2020

Abu Sayyaf Group 'courier' surrenders in Basilan

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 17, 2020): Abu Sayyaf Group 'courier' surrenders in Basilan (By Teofilo Garcia, Jr.)

ASG SURRENDERER. Muhammad Batuken Balakat, who claims to be an Abu Sayyaf Group courier, hands over a Garand rifle to Lt. Col. Renante Besa, Army's 64th Infantry Battalion commander, when he surrendered Wednesday (April 15, 2020) in Barangay Tumahubong, Sumisip, Basilan province. (Photo courtesy of 64th Infantry Battalion)

A man who claimed to be a courier for the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) has surrendered to government authorities in the province of Basilan, officials said Friday.

Brig. Gen. Fernando Reyeg, the Army’s 101st Infantry Brigade commander, said
the ASG courier, Muhammad Batuken Balakat, surrendered Wednesday to the 64th Infantry Battalion in Barangay Tumahubong, Sumisip, Basilan.

Reyeg said
Balakat, a resident of Barangay Tongsengal, Sumisip, is a follower of Basilan-based ASG leader Furuji Indama.

Reyeg said the successful surrender is a result of the collaborative efforts of the 46th Infantry Battalion’s Alpha Company, barangay officials of Etub-Etub, Sumisip and “the peace-loving citizens of the municipality”.

He said Balakat turned over one Garand rifle with ammunition.

Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, commander of the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom), said the command sustains its peace efforts to achieve long-lasting peace in its area of operation “amid our battle against this invisible enemy, coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid 19)”.

“We are greatly happy with the unwavering support extended by our stakeholders and the people in our campaign to end terrorism,” Sobejana said.

“Likewise, we urge the remaining ASG militants and other lawless elements to return to the mainstream society,” he added.

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