Two Abu Sayyaf Group sub-leaders and 13 of their members submitted themselves to the troops of the Joint Task Force Sulu on December 11, 2020, the WestMinCom Commander said.
According to Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan, Jr., Commander of the Western Mindanao Command, “The two sub-leaders were identified as Alvin Yusop, a.k.a. Arab Puti under senior leader Radulan Sahiron; and Barahim Nurjahar under deceased senior leader Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan”.
Both subleaders surrendered through the concerted effort of the 1101st and 1102nd Infantry Brigades.
According to 1102Bde Commander Ignatius Patrimonio, Arab Puti was a kidnapper and a close-in of Sahiron. His family convinced him to surrender because his mother suffered stroke.
Moreover, Arab Puti stated that aside from wanting to take care of his sick mother, he also want to change for the better for the sake of his four children.
Meanwhile, government forces also have long been in the hunt for the then ASG subleader Barahim Nurjahar.
1101Bde Commander Col. Antonio Bautista, Jr. said, “The presence of government troops drove out Nurjahar from his stronghold and caused him to starve. Realizing that his struggle has no sense, he approached the MNLF Jikiri faction who then linked him to us for his proper surrender.”
“Nurjahar was the man behind the kidnapping of the sister of one of the mayors of Sulu. He is subject for a legal proceedings and is now willing to cooperate with government forces,” Col. Bautista added.
The 15 and their 14 surrendered firearms were presented to JTF Sulu Commander Maj. Gen. William Gonzales in a ceremony facilitated by the two brigade commanders.
In his message, Maj. Gen. Gonzales was very glad to welcome the surrendered personalities to the mainstream society.
“I commend both the Ganarul and Gagandilan troopers. Imagine, even Arab Puti, the ringleader of the ASG’s urban criminal group around 2017 and the most trusted subordinate of Radulan Sahiron came to his senses and laid down his arms.”
Among the surrendered personalities were the two sons of ASG subleader and kidnapper Apoh Mike namely: Muarip Adja, a.k.a. Arip and Hatimil Adja, a.k.a. Timmir.
41st Infantry Battalion Commanding Officer Lt. Col. James Erasmus Gagni revealed that Adja was present when ASG senior leader Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan died.
Lt. Col. Gagni further said that the successful surrender of the two was a result of their community support program and their peace covenant with the residents of Maimbung.
Further, Maj. Gen. Gonzales said that all returnees will be enrolled in the livelihood programs of the government.
“We are teaming up with the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process and the Office of the Governor so that you can start a new life. Go on and raise your kids to be peace-loving citizens. Tell the others (ASG members), tell Apoh Mike, that they are welcome so long as they are sincere, willing to face the rule of law, and most of all, ready to cooperate in our fight for peace here in Sulu,” Maj. Gen. Gonzales said addressing the returnees. WESTERN MINDANAO COMMAND