Saturday, July 24, 2021

Marine troops seize arms cache in Tawi-Tawi

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 24, 2021): Marine troops seize arms cache in Tawi-Tawi (By Teofilo Garcia, Jr.)

DISCOVERED WEAPONS. The firearms and gun parts seized by Marine troops in Sitio Pasabuli, Barangay Tongbakaw, Panglima Sugala in Tawi-Tawi province on Thursday (July 22, 2021). The weapons were placed under the custody of the 212th marine Company and coordination has been made with the police for a follow-up operation. (Photo courtesy of the Marine Battalion Landing Team - 12)

The military has reported the seizure of a weapons cache from a house in Sitio Pasabuli, Barangay Tongbakaw, Panglima Sugala in the island province of Tawi-Tawi on Thursday.

Lt. Col. Charlie Caña, Marine Battalion Landing Team (MBLT) 12 commander, said on Saturday the arms cache consisted of three M16A1 rifles, one M203 grenade launcher, three M16A1 handguards, one 3-9X40E scope, 14 long and six short M16 magazines, two 40-mm. ammunition, a rifle grenade, four chest rigs, and 352 rounds of 5.56-mm. live ammunition.

Marine troops conducted a maritime security patrol after a tip-off by a concerned citizen that two unidentified civilians were transporting assorted firearms using watercraft to Sitio Lookan, Barangay Banaran, Sapa-Sapa town from Tongbakaw.

The soldiers chanced upon the house where they seized the arms cache but its occupant, a certain Tasil, managed to escape, Caña said.

He added the confiscated firearms were placed under the custody of the 212th Marine Company for safekeeping while the operating troops coordinated with the local police for follow-up operations.

Col. Romeo Racadio, newly installed commander of the Naval Task Force Tawi-Tawi and 2nd Marine Brigade, commended the MBLT-12 troops for the successful recovery of the high-powered firearms, which might be used for terrorism.

“Your Marines here in the southern part of the country will not allow perpetrators to disturb the peace that the municipality enjoys,” Racadio said.

Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan Jr., commander of the Western Mindanao Command, congratulated the troops of Joint Task Force Tawi-Tawi for the recent accomplishment.

“The armed forces, together with our partners, will continue to curb lawlessness in our area of operation,” Vinluan said.

16 ASG bandits yield in Sulu

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 24, 2021): 16 ASG bandits yield in Sulu (By Teofilo Garcia, Jr.)

INITIAL AID. Maj. Gen. William Gonzales, 11th Infantry Division commander (center), and Brig. Gen. Antonio Bautista Jr., 1101st Infantry Brigade commander, hand over cash and a 50-kilo sack of rice to one of the 16 Abu Sayyaf surrenderers as initial aid. The bandits surrendered on Thursday (July 22, 2021) at the headquarters of 1101st IB in Sitio Bayog, Barangay Samak, Talipao, Sulu. (Photo courtesy of the 11ID Public Affairs Office)

Sixteen Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) bandits, including three keepers of explosives, have surrendered in the province of Sulu, a military official said on Saturday.

The rebels surrendered on July 22 to Brig. Gen. Antonio Bautista Jr., 1101st Infantry Brigade commander, at his headquarters in Sitio Bayog, Barangay Samak, Talipao, Sulu.

identified the three improvised explosive devices (IEDs) keepers as the Alpha brothers - Kamar, Alkaider, and Adzmer -who used to run errands for the slain ASG sub-leader Idang Susukan.

He said the bandits are followers of ASG sub-leaders Idang and Mujib Susukan, Hairula Asbang, Majan Sahidjuan alias Apo Mike, Raden Abu, Ben Wagas, and Alden Bagadi.

The men also yielded two types of IEDs, three Garand rifles, an M203 Grenade Launcher, a caliber .30 bolt action rifle, a caliber .38 pistol, a caliber .45 pistol, and an M203 ammunition.

“Initially, they were unarmed but then they experienced being involved in an encounter that they were pushed to get more involved in terror group's wrongdoings. This was up to the point that they were tasked to keep these IEDs. Fortunately, the convergence of efforts of the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) and the local government of Sulu are able to convince these people to leave the ASG's futile way of life," Bautista said.

The military and provincial government of Sulu are carrying out the delivery of basic services to communities through the Task Force to End Local Armed Conflict (TF-ELAC), a localized version of Task Force to End Local Conflict (TF-ELCAC).

Bautista said the surrenderers recited a pledge of allegiance to express their commitment to denying ASG influence and to actively promote peace.

They were also presented to Maj. Gen. William Gonzales, 11th Infantry Division (ID) commander, who said the military is willing to provide all-out support as long as the former ASG bandits will stay true to their words.

“Kilala ko ang mga Tausug bilang mapag-pahalaga sa salita, na talagang matutupad kapag nanumpa kayo sa isang bagay. Sa araw na to, ako rin ay nanunumpa na hindi kayo maiiwan sa napakagandang kinabukasan ng Sulu. Ang mga tulong na natatanggap niyo, pauna lamang yan. Napakarami nating nakakausap sa gobyerno na handang magbigay ng tulong at gabayan kayo (I know the Tausugs fulfill their promises, especially if you give your pledge. This day, I am also giving my pledge that you have a bright future in Sulu. There will be more assistance to be given to you. There are so many people in the government ready and willing to help you)," Gonzales told the men.

Each of the men was given cash and a sack of 50 kilos of rice as initial assistance.

They also stand to receive livelihood aid from the provincial government of Sulu.