By Francis Wakefield
Government troops have seized Abu Sayyaf militants’ motorboat and firearms in Sulu on Sunday.
Combined forces of the Joint Task Force (JTF) Sulu and the Philippine National Police seized from an Abu Sayyaf coddler an M16A1 rifle, a Caliber .45 pistol, magazines, and a motorized bangka used by the militants following a joint operation in Barangay Tainga Bakkao, Banguigui at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday.
The JTF Sulu said the Abu Sayyaf utilized the motorboat to transport militants who evaded government forces in several armed engagements in mainland Sulu.
Security forces acted on a tip-off from a civilian in the area.
Brigadier General Divino Rey Pabayo, Jr., JTF Sulu commander, said the recent involvement of the populace in its campaign is a clear indication that terrorists are losing the support of the public.
“With the active support of the Tausug communities, I am confident that the problem with the Abu Sayyaf will soon be over,” Pabayo said.
Military troops continue to launch combat operations against Abu Sayyaf militants hiding in the hinterlands of Sulu.
“Our joint task force in Sulu is stepping up its campaign to hound terrorists by building up its intelligence and combat operations,” said Lieutenant General Arnel Dela Vega, commander of the AFP Western Mindanao Command.
“While sustaining that, military troops are working with the police and the Suluanons to pursue militants and their coddlers in the area,” he added.