by Francis Wakefield and Nonoy Lacson
A Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) integree-turned-soldier, who was working for peace and progress in Sulu, was abducted by the Abu Sayyaf Thursday morning.
Armed Forces of the Philippines-Western Mindanao Command (AFP-WestMinCom) Spokesman Capt. Jo-Ann Petinglay identified the female soldier as Staff Sergeant Anni Siraji of the 32nd Infantry Battalion (32IB) under the Joint Task Force Sulu.
The perpetrators were believed to be members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG). A report said he was forcibly taken by a group headed by Waltun Julhasan, a known member of the team of ASG leader Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan operating in Patikul, Sulu.
The group fled with the captured soldier towards Sitio Lagaron, Barangay Kabbuntakas, Patikul, Sulu, the report from the AFP Western Mindanao Command said.
The Commanding Officer of the 32nd IB immediately directed one platoon from the unit to conduct pursuit operation the general area where the abductors fled. All operating troops were alerted and tasked to conduct pursuit and blocking operations within the immediate vicinity.
“The recent abduction incident involving our soldier should not be a reason for us to back out but should further motivate us to continue our relentless and sustained military operations against the ASG and the rescue of all kidnap victims,” Brigadier General Cirilito Sobejana, the Commander of the Joint Task Force Sulu, said.
For three months now, Patikul has been one of the main target areas of the military offensives as it was reported to be a stronghold of the bandits.
AFP Western Mindanao Command Chief Lieutenant General Carlito G. Galvez Jr., said it is frustrating that a Tausug soldier who wants a peaceful community and is working really hard so that progress will come to his home province, will be a victim of the bandits.
“Obviously, the Abu Sayyaf can victimize anyone, even someone from their own tribe,” Galvez said.
“Therefore, we are calling on all the people of Sulu to join us in this fight. I firmly believe that as long as we are together on this, we will be able to disallow these bandits to continue creating havoc and fear to everyone.”
“For now, we will continue to hunt the perpetrators and the rest of the Abu Sayyaf. We will not stop until we get our soldier back to his family,” he added.
ABU SAYYAF MEMBER SURRENDERS
Meanwhile, a member of the ASG operating under Furugi Indama became the 17th leader of the group to surrender to the military. He surrendered last Wednesday in Barangay Bohe Pahu, Ungkaya Pukan, Basilan.
Petinglay identified the ASG surrenderee as Nasser Sagap, alias. Sinbad, 20 years old and a resident of Barangay Limbu Upas, Tipo-Tipo, Basilan.
Sagap surrendered to soldiers of the 18th Infantry Battalion under the Joint Task Force Basilan and turned over his caliber .30 Garand rifle with one clip and four rounds of ammunition
Since the start of the “no let-up operation” against the group in January this year, Indama is the fifth to surrender in Basilan province.