The military in North Cotabato said Wednesday that a member of the Islamic State-linked Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) terrorist group surrendered, bringing with him a crew-served 60-mm mortar launching pad.
“Alias Omar” freely came forward to surrender Tuesday afternoon in Barangay Salunayan, Midsayap, North Cotabato, according to Lt. Col. Edgardo Vilchez Jr, commander of the Army’s 34th Infantry Battalion (34IB).
Omar belonged to the BIFF-Kagui Karialan faction, and his surrender was made feasible by the Midsayap town government’s combined efforts, with the support of the 34IB.
According to Vilchez, the Karialan BIFF group operates on the boundary of Maguindanao and North Cotabato provinces.
He stated that Omar surrendered due to exhaustion from pursuing a futile cause, and that all he wanted was to be with his family again.
The Army’s 6th Infantry Division (6ID) commander, Maj. Gen. Juvymax Uy, praised the Midsayap officials and the 34IB for facilitating the BIFF combatant’s surrender.
“We genuinely recognize our partner stakeholders, especially the local executives and community leaders, in your long-drawn effort and contribution in countering violent extremism in your area,” Uy, also the commander of the Army-led Joint Task Force Central, said in a statement.
“The surrender of the former rebel is an indication that the stronghold of the BIFF is continuously weakening as more of their members are now returning to the fold of the law,” Uy added.
The surrenderer is currently being debriefed, and his government-provided livelihood packages are being processed to enable him begin a new peaceful life in mainstream society.