By Nonoy E. Lacson and Bonita L. Ermac
Zamboanga City – About 50 high powered firearms were surrendered to Joint Task Force Zampelan (JTF-Zampelan), Wednesday by some local officials and residents of Piagapo town in Lanao del Sur province.
JTF-Zampelan Commander Maj. Gen. Roseller G Murillo received the armaments from Piagapo Mayor Ali Sumandar in a simple hand-over ceremony held at 2:30 pm Wednesday.
Murillo, commander of the First Infantry (Tabak) Division, said: “Our soldiers under the 51st Infantry Battalion, headed by Lt Col. Gremel B Brual, in partnership with the local officials of Piagapo, have been campaigning and convincing those who are keeping loose firearms to turn-over the armaments to the military.”
Piagapo is known to be the area where the Maute brothers trained their followers since 2016. It is also the subject of series of military operations targeting the terrorists group who have managed to establish an encampment in the area.
“We believe that if we are not able to get hold of these guns, these might be used to sow fear, terror and devastation to the innocent people,” Murillo added.
Among the firearms that were surrendered were a Minimi 5.56 Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW); an Ultimax 5.56mm (SAW); a Rocket Propelled Grenade 7 with 1 ammo; a Barret Cal .50, seven M16 5.56 rifles (two with attached M203 grenade launchers); six M14 7.62 mm rifles, 12 M16A1 5.56mm rifle; five M653 5.56 mm rifles; one BAR; one M79; one M2 Carbine; one Tompson 9mm; one Uzi 9mm; one cal .45 Pistol; and three KG 9mm.