Saturday| July 1, 2017
At least 94 members of the Abu Sayyaf were killed, 66 were captured while another 98 surrendered since an all-out military campaign was launched in January, the Armed Forces Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom) said Thursday.
In a press statement, Wesmincom said the Joint Task Forces of Western Mindanao's operations have also recovered 148 firearms from the bandit group.
Meanwhile, two more Abu Sayyaf members yielded on Thursday to the Joint Task Force Basilan under Colonel Juvymax Uy.
The Basilan-based bandits identified as Serham Hasim Akkalun and Hapid Madjakin surrendered to the 13th Special Forces Company at 4 p.m. in Barangay Guinanta, Albarka, Basilan.
Seized from Akkalun and Madjakin were an M1 Garand rifle and a clip with four rounds of live ammunition.
Both have undergone custodial debriefing and were turned over to the police for the legal procedures.
The Wesmincom said Akkalun had twice escaped from the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology-Basilan on December 13, 2009 and January 27, 2015.
On the other hand, Madjakin was said to be an Abu Sayyaf member under the late sub-leader Long Malat.
Uy said combat operations against the Abu Sayyaf bandits are being intensified.
"On the tactical level, the combat operations of our troops are currently being intensified to pressure the Abu Sayyaf bandits to yield to the government forces. With the surrender of the bandits and the seizure of their strongholds, we are confident that our offensives on the ground are effective," Uy said.
Wesmincom commander Lieutenant General Carlito Galvez, for his part, assured that efforts to neutralize the bandit group will continue.
"We welcome those who return to the fold of the law and accord them the opportunity to live normal lives, far from what they have been facing before as combatants who engaged the government forces and who fight for extremism to thrive in Mindanao," Galvez said.
“Rest assured that with all these operational feats, we we will not rest on our laurels and will, instead, continue to work hard and integrate the efforts of our soldiers and our stakeholders in sustaining the internal security in Mindanao and bringing about the defeat of the Abu Sayyaf,” he added.