8 more ASG bandits surrender in Sulu

Domestic Affairs

Eight more members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) have surrendered to government authorities amid continued combat operations against them in the province of Sulu, a top military official said Friday.

In a statement, Maj. Gen. Ignatius Patrimonio, Joint Task Force (JTF) Sulu commander, said the eight ASG fighters surrendered Thursday at the municipal hall of Talipao, Sulu.

The ASG members yielded through the efforts of the Municipal Task Force in Ending Local Armed Conflict (MTF-ELAC), the 2nd Special Forces Battalion, the 5th Scout Ranger Battalion, and the Talipao Municipal Police Station; and intelligence units.

MTF-ELAC is Sulu’s counterpart of the national government’s National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).

Patrimonio said five of the eight surrenderers belong to the group of ASG sub-leader Idang Susukan,while the remaining three are followers of Radullan Sahiron, the oldest bandit leader in Sulu.

They turned over six Garand rifles and an M16 rifle.

Abu Tubah, one of the surrenderers, disclosed during initial custodial debriefing that they decided to surrender due to hardships while evading military combat operations.

“It’s too difficult. We are hungry and tired that is why we surrendered,” Tubah was quoted as saying in the JTF Sulu statement.

“We joined the group because we enticed will be given money. We decided to surrender to live a new life together with our family since nothing happened,” he added.

Meanwhile, Patrimonio recognized the efforts of the local government of Talipao, particularly the families of the ASG surrenderers, for convincing them to return to the folds of the law.

Patrimonio urged Sulu residents to convince the remaining ASG members to go back to the folds of the law, live their normal lives, and avail of the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP).

“We will be relentless in our efforts to end terrorism in the province of Sulu, and neutralize the remaining ASG bandits who keep on sowing terror in the peaceful communities,” he said.

“We keep on appealing to those who are still with the terrorist group to voluntarily surrender, lay down your firearms, live your normal and peaceful lives, and avail of the E-CLIP. Now is the time for you to start anew,” he added.

Data from the JTFSulu showed that a total of 46 ASG members surrendered and had turned over 32 firearms in the first quarter of the year.

Source: Philippines News Agency