GOVERNMENT troops seized firearms and a watercraft of the Abu Sayyaf bandits in a raid in the island town of Banguingui, Sulu, officials said Wednesday, March 13.
Recovered were an M-16 “Baby Armalite” rifle, a caliber .45 pistol and a motorboat when joint military and police forces raided the hideout of an alleged Abu Sayyaf coddler around 11:30 a.m. Sunday in Tainga Bakkao village, Banguingui.
Brigadier General Divino Rey Pabayo, Joint Task Force Sulu commander, said the raid was launched in response to a report from a civilian that a coddler of the Abu Sayyaf bandits was hiding in Tainga Bakkao.
However, the coddler of the Abu Sayyaf bandits was gone when the troops raided the hideout.
Pabayo said the Abu Sayyaf bandits had used the motorboat to transport bandits that evaded government forces in several armed engagements in mainland Sulu.
Pabayo said the involvement of the populace in the campaign against the Abu Sayyaf bandits is a clear indication that the bandit group is losing the support of the public.
He said he is confident the problem on the Abu Sayyaf “will soon be over” with the active support of the residents in 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, Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) chief. (Bong Garcia/SunStar Philippines)