By CPT JO-ANN D PETINGLAY (MI) PA
CHIEF, CPIO WESTMINCOM
Camp Navarro, Calarian, Zamboanga City – The all-out offensives launched by the military since January this year yielded to the deaths of 81 Abu Sayyaf, surrender of 50, apprehension of 18 and the seizure of 70 high powered and low powered firearms from the group.
The latest skirmishes between the Government forces and the bandits was in Patikul, Sulu Province at 7am today (May 17).
Elements of the 10th Infantry Battalion, under the Joint Task Force Sulu engaged in a five-minute gun battle with about fifteen Abu Sayyaf at the Patikul hill in Barangay Sandahn that resulted to the death of two Abu Sayyaf bandits and the seizure of three M16 rifles.
"We were also able to recover the remains of the two Abu Sayyaf bandits who are still yet to be identified," reports Brigadier General Cirilito Sobejana, the Commander of the Joint Task Force Sulu. "Fortunately, no one was hurt from among our soldiers."
At 7:45pm yesterday (May 16), Abu Sayyaf members Musa Jamil Alsid, 19 years old, and Mohammad Waddang Udding, 20 years old, both residents of Barangay Pitogo, Caluang, Sulu, surrendered to the troops of the 2nd Special Forces Battalion under Lieutenant Colonel Gaspar Panopio.
Said surrender was made possible through the joint efforts of the 3rd Civilian Active Auxiliary Sulu Company.
The surrendered Abu Sayyaf members, who are followers of the late ASG sub-leader Alhabsy Misaya, also yielded to the troops an M16 rifle.
As of press time, Alsid and Udding are undergoing custodial debriefing conducted by personnel of the 2SFBn in Talipao, Sulu.
“My standing order to JTF Sulu Commander is to flush out the Abu Sayyaf from their comfort zones and bring them to places where they are vulnerable," says Lieutenant General Carlito G Galvez, Jr, Commander of the Western Mindanao Command. “This is exactly what is happening in Sulu and in other Provinces confronting Abu Sayyaf threat."
“Before the campaign started last January this year, we started going after more than 500 Abu Sayyaf members. With the support we are receiving from the local officials, and other stakeholders, including the MILF and the MNLF, we have strong reasons to believe that we are only confronting less than half the number of the bandits right now.”
"Our forces are in full throttle doing both lethal and non-lethal approaches. It will just be a matter of time that we will defeat the entire group," adds Lieutenant General Galvez.