By Nonoy Lacson
ZAMBOANGA CITY — Eight members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) surrendered to the government forces in just three days as soldiers sustained their combat operations against local terrorist group in Western Mindanao.
Armed Forces of the Philippines, Western Mindanao Command (AFP-WestMinCom) spokesman Army Lt. Col. Gerry M Besana said seven ASG gunmen surrendered, Monday to the troops of the Joint Task Force-Sulu (JTF-Sulu) under Brig. Gen. Divino Rey Pabayo.
Among those who surrendered to the soldiers were Hamsani Salamuddin alias Hatib Hamsani and Hatib Ambri Awalon alias Ratag Badjang, both married and residents of Sitio Badyang, Barangay Gata-Gata, Panglima Estino, Sulu, and Asali Laadja alias Asali of Barangay Danag, Patikul, Sulu.
The three surrendered to the soldiers at around 10 a.m. Monday, July 16 in Barangay Tiptipon, Panglima Estino, Sulu.
According to Besana, another four ASG members surrendered on the same day to the troops of the 101st Brigade under Col. Francisco Ariel Felicidario through the efforts of Lt. Col. Amadeo Cruz, commanding officer of the 35th Infantry Battalion; Capt. Niwane of the 5th Special Forces Company; and barangay captain Jing Hayudini of Anuling, Patikul, Sulu at noon, Monday at the Headquarters, 101st Brigade in Bus-Bus, Jolo, Sulu.
Besana identified them as Nurham Langkahan, 23; Faisal Langkahan, 18; Rashdy Alih, 20; and Kaisir Alih, 16.
They also turned over to the military one caliber .38 pistol, one carbine, and two Garand rifles.
Besana added that another ASG fighter Mubin Kullim, surrendered to the troops of the Fourth Special Forces Battalion under the Joint Task Force-Basilan (JTF-Basilan) led by Col. Fernando Reyes through the efforts of the different stakeholders at 8 a.m., Wednesday.
Mubin Kullim surrendered to the troops at the headquarters of the 4SFBn in Barangay Cabunbata, Isabela City, Basilan bringing along with him an M16A1 rifle and long magazine with 30 rounds of ammunition.
All surrenderers underwent medical examination and custodial debriefing, Besana said
For his part, AFP-WestMinCom commander Lt. Gen. Arnel Dela Vega said “I would like to express my appreciation to the assistance extended by the local government and the locals of Sulu and Basilan to support the all-out military campaign against terrorism.”
From January 1, 2018 to date, there were a total of 135 ASG who surrendered to the troops, 65 of whom were from Sulu, 63 from Basilan, 5 from Tawi-Tawi, and two from Zamboanga City.