23 former violent extremists yield to Army in Central Mindanao

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A total of 23 former violent extremists surrender to Joint Task Force Central (JTFC) personnel in the provinces of North Cotabato and Maguindanao, carrying with them 21 high-powered firearms and six improvised explosive devices on Friday, January 21, 2022.

The single-day surrender belongs to multiple local terrorist groups in different parts of Central Mindanao, according to Major General Juvymax Uy, Commander of the JTFC and 6th Infantry (Kampilan) Division.

“This is the result of JTFC’s continuous campaign against the terrorist groups in order to protect our communities from their atrocities and to achieve long and lasting peace in this part of the country,” said Maj. Gen. Uy.

After a large manhunt by JTFC forces to track down those responsible for the attack, government forces successfully neutralized the mastermind of the Mindanao Star Bus squad and three of his followers in Carmen, North Cotabato, a week ago (January 15, 2022).

Aside from that, this latest surrender brought the total number of former violent extremists who returned to the folds of the law to 53 since the start of 2022.

Lieutenant Colonel Rommel Mundala, Commanding Officer of 90IB disclosed that the nine former violent extremists who surrendered in Pikit, North Cotabato brought along one Cal. 30 machine gun, two M16 rifles, three M14 rifles, one RPG2, and one grenade-type IED and were presented to Colonel Donald Gumiran, 602nd Brigade Deputy Commander, and Hon. Sumulong Sultan, Mayor of Pikit, North Cotabato.

Col. Gumiran and Hon. Salik Mamasabulod, Mayor of Pagalungan, North Cotabato, were presented with two M14 rifles, one Ultimax 5.56mm machine gun, one RPG2, and one 7.62mm Barret rifle when the five former violent extremists surrendered in Pagalungan Town.

In addition, Lieutenant Colonel Cresencio Sanchez Jr., Commanding Officer of 1st Mechanized Battalion said that the 10 former BIFF combatants who surrendered in Ampatuan, Maguindanao brought along with them one US cal .30 M1919A4 browning machine gun, one US M1 carbine rifle, one US M14 rifle, one US M14 rifle, one garand rifle, and four homemade 7.62mm sniper rifles was presented to Colonel Ferdinand Lacadin, 1st Mechanized Brigade Officer In Charge and Hon. Unson Demaguil, Executive Secretary of Datu Salibo, Maguindanao.

The DIWATA-HAVEN Program for North Cotabato and the AGILA-HAVEN Program for Maguindanao Province are also poised to enroll these surrenderers.

“The successful surrender of these 23 former violent extremists today were realized through the joint efforts of JTFC forces and local PNP units of Pikit, Pagalungan, and Datu Salibo Municipalities,” said Maj. Gen. Uy.

“The security landscape in Central Mindanao will definitely change if these accomplishments are sustained. That is why I continue to call on our partners in the Local Government Units, government and non-government agencies and organizations, stakeholders, and members of the communities to continue on helping the JTFC in our effort to totally defeat violent extremism in Central Mindanao,” he added.

“Our gains are your gains and our accomplishments are your accomplishments and we will defeat these terrorist groups in due time,” he further stated.

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