NINETEEN Abu Sayyaf bandits, including two sub-leaders, surrendered in two batches on Thursday, May 4, a military official said.

Colonel Juvymax Uy, commander of the Joint Task Force Basilan, on Friday said Abu Sayyaf sub-leaders Nur Hassan Lahaman and Sub leader Mudz-Ar Angkun along with 13 surrendered to the troops of the Army’s 64th Infantry Battalion in Barangay Tumahubong, Sumisip.

Uy said they turned over nine high-powered firearms that included one caliber .50 Baret sniper rifle, one M-16 Armalite rifle, one 40-mm grenade launcher, five caliber .30 M1 Garand rifles, and one caliber .30 springfield rifle.

They operate in the municipalities of Sumisip and Tuburan, Basilan province.

The surrender of the group was made possible through the joint efforts of the Joint Task Force Basilan, Basilan Provincial Police Office and the Municipal Government of Sumisip.

Uy also said four other Abu Sayyaf bandits have surrendered on Thursday in the town of Hadji Mohammad Ajul.

They were identified as Patta Salapuddin, 53, Asbi Salapuddin, 32, Sayyadi Salapuddin, 31, and Arci Salapuddin, 20. All of them are residents of Barangay Basakan, Hadji Mohammad Ajul, Basilan.

The Salapuddin brothers are linked with the Sulu-based Abu Sayyaf Group led by the late Alhabsy Misaya.

Both were involved in the March 23 hijacking and abduction of two crew, boat captain, and chief engineer of M/T Tug R9 towing Super Shuttle Roro 9 off Basilan province.

Government troops rescued the boat captain on March 25 while the chief engineer on March 27.

All the 19 Basilan-based Abu Sayyaf surrenderees are now undergoing processing and debriefing at the provincial headquarters of Basilan. (SunStar Philippines)