NINETY-FOUR Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) members were killed while 164 have surrendered and were apprehended as the deadline imposed by President Rodrigo Duterte to crush the ASG within six months lapsed Friday, June 30.
The troops have also recovered 148 firearms of different calibers.
Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom) Chief Carlito Galvez, Jr., said they campaign against the ASG to ensure the protection of the peace-loving residents.
"Rest assured that with all these operational feats, we will not rest on our laurels and will, instead, continue to work hard and integrate the efforts of our soldiers and our stakeholders in sustaining the internal security in Mindanao and bringing about the defeat of the Abu Sayyaf Group," Galvez said.
Two more Abu Sayyaf bandits have surrendered to the Joint Task Force Basilan under Colonel Juvymas Uy on Thursday, June 29, a day before the timeline given by the commander-in-chief to defeat the ASG comes to an end.
They were identified as Serham Hasim Akkalun and Hapid Madjakin. They surrendered to the 13th Special Forces Company of the Army's 4th Special Forces Battalion in Guinanta village, Albarka, Basilan.
Galvez said information gathered revealed that Akkalun escaped twice from the detention facility of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology in Basilan.
The first time Akkalun escaped was on December 13, 2009 and the second on January 27, 2015.
"We welcome those who return to the fold of the law and accord them the opportunity to live normal lives, far from what they have been facing before as combatants who engaged the government forces and who fight for extremism to thrive in Mindanao," Galvez said.
"On the tactical level, the combat operations of our troops are currently being intensified to pressure the Abu Sayyaf bandits to yield to the government forces. With the surrender of the bandits and the seizure of their strongholds, we are confident that our offensives on the ground are effective," Uy said. (SunStar Philippines)