16 Abu Sayyaf Group bandits yield in Sulu

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Sixteen Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) bandits have surrendered in the province of Sulu, including three explosives keepers, according to a military officer.

On July 22, the insurgents surrendered to Brig. Gen. Antonio Bautista Jr., commander of the 1101st Infantry Brigade in Sitio Bayog, Barangay Samak, Talipao, Sulu.

The Alpha brothers – Kamar, Alkaider, and Adzmer – who used to run errands for the dead ASG sub-leader Idang Susukan were identified by Bautista as the three IED keepers.

According to him, the outlaws are ASG sub-leaders Idang and Mujib Susukan, Hairula Asbang, Majan Sahidjuan alias Apo Mike, Raden Abu, Ben Wagas, and Alden Bagadi’s followers.

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 M203 ammunition were also recovered from the individuals.

“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.

Sulu’s military and provincial administration are delivering basic services to communities via the Task Force to End Local Armed Conflict (TF-ELAC), a localized variant of the Task Force to End Local Conflict (TF-ELCAC).

According to Bautista, the surrenderers recited an oath of allegiance to show their determination to resist ASG influence and actively support peace.

They were also handed to Maj. Gen. William Gonzales, head of the 11th Infantry Division (ID), who stated that the military is eager to offer full support as long as the former ASG bandits keep their promises.

“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,” Gonzales told the men.

As a start, each of the men was given money and a sack of 50 kg of rice. They will also receive assistance from the Sulu Provincial Government.

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