AFP Chief lauds troops for killing 7 ASG members, credits new capabilities

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he Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff General Gilbert I. Gapay commended the operating forces of the Western Mindanao Command for killing seven (7) members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) on November 3 in Parang, Sulu.

“Your relentlessness and commitment in defeating these terrorists were eminent in this operation and thus worthy of appreciation from our whole organization,” General Gapay said.

Joint Task Force – Sulu successfully implemented a predrawn operation around 2:00 AM on Tuesday consisting of an Augusta Attack helicopter from the Philippine Air Force (PAF) and Philippine Navy’s (PN) Multi-Purpose Attack Craft (MPAC) with Scout Rangers and Special Forces aboard.

The AFP Chief of Staff had the opportunity to personally thank the Navy personnel who dealt blows against the capabilities of the ASG in a separate statement. “Congratulations for a job well done. I am confident that in no time we will be able to defeat this local terrorist group,” General Gapay said during his visit to the Naval Sea Systems Command (NSSC) in Cavite on Wednesday.

“I have seen how the Navy has grown in terms of capabilities, and that is really the way to go. I do hope that this air group would grow even stronger, better, soaring high in the coming days,” the AFP Chief of Staff added in his speech to the command.

During the intense firefight in the open waters, the bandits were tracked by an Augusta helicopter through intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities. Thereafter, the Navy’s newest Multi-Purpose Attack Craft of the 3rd Boat Attack Division was vectored and in the ensuing fire fight rammed the terrorists’ speedboat. Only the front portion of the enemies’ boat remained afloat.

Killed in the 25-minute encounter was Mannul Sawadjaan who was declared “heir” of slain emir (leader) Hajan Sawadjaan of the Islamic State. The military’s operation foiled the group’s possible abduction attempts of foreigners and locals.

“The efficient use of our assets brings about significant gains in our fight against enemies of the state. This proves that armed with high-level weaponry and equipment, our skilled soldiers can render these terrorists defenseless,” General Gapay stated.

Assault rifles, ammunition and other equipment were recovered by troops following the encounter. As of Thursday morning, search and retrieval operations are still ongoing for the bodies of the seven (7) violent extremists.

Military records as of November 4 show a total of 65 ASG members killed, while 99 members surrendered since January of this year. Meanwhile, 122 firearms and 10 Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) were seized and surrendered in various operations.

“Let us keep our nation peaceful and secured by being prepared to quell any attack from all threat elements. We will continue pushing for the AFP Modernization program to capacitate our troops towards a fully capable, responsive and highly professional armed forces, source of national pride,” the AFP Chief of Staff General Gapay said. AFP.MIL.PH