Sixteen Abu Sayyaf bandits from the provinces of Basilan and Sulu have surrendered, military officials announced Monday.
Three of the 16 Abu Sayyaf bandits have surrendered around 11:30 a.m. Saturday to the troops of the Army’s 3rd Scout Ranger Battalion headed by Lt. Col. Montano Almodovar in Barangay Campo Uno, Lamitan City, Basilan.
The 13 others surrendered around 9 p.m. Saturday to the Army’ 2nd Scout Ranger Battalion in Barangay Samak, Talipao, Sulu.
Col. Fernando Reyeg, commander of the Basilan-based Army’s 104th Infantry Brigade, identified those who surrendered in the province as Samir Laarin, 33; Ramil Mobarak, 33 and Naim Majid, 31.
Reyeg said the three surrenderers were followers of slain Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Masud Tanajalin alias Abu Talha. They are residents of Barangay Upper Sinangkapan, Akbar town.
They turned over one M-16 rifle and two Garand rifles when they surrendered in coordination with the local government executives of Akbar town.
“The ASG (Abu Sayyaf Group) surrenderers came to a realization that they can go back to the folds of the law and start living a peaceful life with their families,” Reyeg said.
“This (surrender) is a result of our continuing close collaboration with the LGU officials to convince these ASGs to lay down their arms,” he added.
Those who surrendered in Sulu were identified as the following: Mudjakar Bagadi; Madzramil Bagadi; Benarauf Bagadi; Albaser Hadjiri; Junimar Sampangan; Alvarez Rasid; Aksan Adam; Sahari Absari; Jeneyvar Muammil; Amil Sangkaan; Albenal Dawadil; Sab Abduhrasad and Sabri Bidin.
They were followers of slain ASG sub-leader Alden Bagade and sub-leader Apo Mike.
They yielded the following firearms: four M-16 rifles; four caliber .30 M1 Garand Rifles; one caliber 30 Browning automatic rifle; four caliber .45 pistols; one M-203 grenade launcher and ammunition
“This is a clear manifestation that we are achieving our goal of clearing Sulu province from the menace of the ASG through peaceful means by giving them a better option and to re-embrace the true essence of Islam,” Brig. Gen. Divino Rey Pabayo, Joint Task Force Sulu commander said.
Lt. Gen. Arnel Dela Vega, Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) chief, said the bandits decided to surrender due to the relentless focused military operation against them that triggered the recent surrender of their other comrades, including some of their leaders
Westmincom records showed that a total of 123 ASG surrenderers have been recorded in the Zamboanga, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi areas since January this year. PNA