The Philippine Army (PA) said two sub-leaders of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) surrendered to state troops in Sulu on Friday.
In a statement, the PA said the two voluntarily approached the Joint Task Force (JTF) Sulu and the 11th Infantry “Alakdan” Division at its headquarters in Camp Teodulfo Bautista, Jolo, Sulu.
JTF Sulu commander Maj. Gen. Ignatius Patrimonio said the ASG sub-leaders were identified as alias Mujer Yadah, 55 years old, and alias Ben Tatto, 41 years old, both belonging to the ASG-Indanan kidnap-for-ransom (KFR) group of senior leader alias Apo Mike.
“The ASG returnees also brought with them two M16 rifles,” said Patrimonio.
Patrimonio said that Yadah had been with Apo Mike’s group since 2002 and was involved in KFR, bombing, and beheading of foreign and local kidnap victims.
After the death of their leader, they were always on the run, had no place to hide, exhausted and often experienced starvation. Yadah also revealed that they no longer have the support of the community which prompted them to go back to the folds of the law.
“The voluntary surrender of the ASG members was through the concerted efforts of 32nd Infantry Battalion, 6th Special Forces Battalion, 45th Infantry Battalion, the police counterpart of Sulu Provincial Police Office, 7th Special Action Battalion, Special Action Force and Regional Intelligence Unit 9, ” Brig. Gen. Benjamin Batara Jr. said.
Col. Jaime Mojica, Sulu police provincial director, also said that the ASG members had been served with several warrants of arrest for kidnapping, homicide, and serious illegal detention.
“As the military formally handed the ASG returnees to us, they will properly undergo the legal process,” said Mojica.
Patrimonio lauded the convergence of efforts that brought the ASG members back to the fold of the law.
“This is indicative of our successful peace and security campaign in Sulu. The decision of the ASG returnees will contribute to inducing more ASG members who have standing warrants to return to the fold of the law who are in doubt to surrender,” he said.
“This is now the right time for you to lay down your arms, avail yourself of the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program, and live peacefully.” — PA