11 Abu Sayyaf members yield in Sulu, military says

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 17 2020 03:53 PM

MANILA — A total of 11 "disgruntled" members of the Abu Sayyaf terror group in Jolo have surrendered to authorities in a bid to avail of the social integration benefits from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Sulu's local government, the military said Saturday.

The 11 who yielded, aged 24 to 52, were reportedly under Mundi Sawadjaan and Radulan Sahiron, a press release from the AFP Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom) read.

They surrendered on Friday afternoon to Col. Antonio Bautista Jr., commander of the 1101st Brigade of the Philippine Army. It was facilitated by the 41st and 100th Infantry Battalions and the Municipal Task Force on Ending Local Armed Conflict of some municipalities in Sulu.

They brought with them 7 assorted high-powered firearms, including M16 armalites and M1 garand rifles.

The 11 Abu Sayyaf members who yielded to military authorities were between the ages of 24 and 52. They were reportedly under terror leaders Mundi Sawadjaan and Radulan Sahiron. Wesmincom/Handout

The 11 Abu Sayyaf members who yielded to military authorities were between the ages of 24 and 52. They were reportedly under terror leaders Mundi Sawadjaan and Radulan Sahiron. Wesmincom/Handout

The 11 Abu Sayyaf members who yielded to military authorities were between the ages of 24 and 52. They were reportedly under terror leaders Mundi Sawadjaan and Radulan Sahiron. Wesmincom/Handout

Joint Task Force (JTF) Sulu commander Maj. Gen. William Gonzales said the militants would undergo the social integration program managed by their task force and the provincial government.

"They have undertaken their physical and medical examination at Camp Bautista Station Hospital... and will go through [a] profiling process for the next few days prior to the administration of psychosocial interventions," Gonzales said.

He said he would submit their names to Wesmincom so they could avail the livelihood program once they complete their skills training.

Bautista, meanwhile, said the returnees would be enrolled in livelihood training and seminars in partnership with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and the Bangsamoro region's Ministry of Basic, Higher and Technical Education.

Wesmincom commander Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan Jr. praised JTF Sulu for their efforts that led to the militants' surrender.

“Through the resolute efforts of our troops... we continue to make unprecedented accomplishments evinced by the influx of terrorists who decide to return to mainstream society,” Vinluan said.

On October 8, the Bangsamoro region’s Ministry of Social Services and Development distributed financial assistance amounting to P15,000 to 144 local terrorist group returnees in Sulu, according to the military.

Wesmincom said a total of 344 local terrorists have yielded in Sulu since 2017. At least 217 have availed of livelihood assistance from government while 127 have yet to be enrolled.

The surrender came in the wake of recent attacks and arrests of persons linked to the Abu Sayyaf.

In August, twin explosions rocked Sulu plaza that left at least 15 people dead and over 70 injured. Law enforcement authorities suspect that the Abu Sayyaf masterminded the bombings.

One of ASG's sub-leaders was killed by the military late September. Government forces said the sub-leader was a cousin of the mastermind behind the twin bombings.

Last week, an Indonesian tagged as a suicide bomber and wives of 2 Abu Sayyaf members were arrested in an operation in Jolo.

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