SEVEN Abu Sayyaf bandits have surrendered on separate occasions to the government troops in the province of Sulu, military officials announced on Tuesday, September 20.

Brigadier General Cirilito Sobejana, Joint Task Force Sulu commander, identified the bandits as Musoy Elani, 25; Tayong Bahala, 50; Muknan Basir, 30; Aldin Akmad, 25; Willing Jaabal, 45; Ijal Sadjal,25; and Emar Udjah, 17.

Sobejana said that Elani, Bahala, and Basir have surrendered to the Army’s 2nd Special Forces Battalion around 10 p.m. on Monday in the island town of Pata, Sulu.

Elani and Bahala are both residents of the village of Likud while Basir is from Daongdong, Pata municipality.

Sobejana said they turned over an M16 Armalite rifle, a caliber .30 M1 Garand rifle and a caliber .45 pistol.

“This capitulation is a product of the intensified offensives being launched by our troops to contain the terrorists and rescue the hostages held captive in the area,” Sobejana said.

Akmad, Jaabal, Sadjal and Udjah surrendered to the Army’s 2nd Special Forces Battalion last Saturday, September 16, in the village of Likud, Pata. They followers of the late Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Alhabsy Misaya.

Sobejana said they turned over three M1 Garand rifles and an M16 Armalite rifle when they surrendered to Lieutenant Colonel Jesse Montoya, Army’s 2nd Special Forces Battalion commander.

The surrender of the seven bandits brought the number of Abu Sayyaf Group members who surrendered to the government to 114 since January this year within the area of jurisdiction of the Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom).

Of the total, 65 yielded to the troops in Basilan, 26 in Sulu, 21 in Tawi-Tawi, and two in Zamboanga City.

“We encourage and welcome those Abu Sayyaf members who are willing to lay down their arms and join the mainstream. It is best that they peacefully surrender rather than fight our more superior troops that might cause them their lives,” Lieutenant General Carlito Galvez, Jr., Westmincom chief said. (SunStar Philippines)