TWO members of the Abu Sayyaf Group surrendered to authorities on Monday, January 29, in the province of Sulu, the military reported.

The surrender came a day after five of their comrades surrendered in Sulu and in the nearby province of Tawi-Tawi.

Brigadier General Divino Rey Pabayo, Army's 101st Infantry Brigade commander, said that Udat Mohammad Salam, 24, and Mustafa Salihin Ahajabi, 19, yielded to his command around 9 a.m. Monday.

They turned over an M16 Armalite rifle and a Garand rifle as a gesture of their commitment to return to the fold of the law.

Brigadier General Cirilito Sobejana, Joint Task Force Sulu commander, said the two were placed under custodial debriefing.

Those who surrendered a day ahead of them (January 28) were identified as Kadra Arajun Sawadjaan, Alnajar Arajun Sawadjaan, Sherul Arad Sahiyul, Jun Hassan, and Titing Alihassan.

The two Sawadjaans and Sahiyul were picked up by soldiers in the village of Bunot, Indanan, Sulu, after earlier arrangements had been made to ensure their safety and security.

Sobejana said they also surrendered an M-16 Armalite rifle, an M-79 Grenade Launcher, and a caliber .45 pistol with ammunition.

Hassan and Alihassan have turned over an M-16 Armalite rifle and a Garand rifle with ammunition when they surrendered to the troops of the Joint Task Force Tawi-Tawi.

The Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) reported that a total of 166 Abu Sayyaf bandits have surrendered to the government since January 2017 "until today."

Of the total, 72 yielded to the troops in Basilan, 59 in Sulu, 33 in Tawi-Tawi, and two in Zamboanga City.

"Surrenderers in the BaSulTa areas continue to snowball as the Westmincom, through the different Joint Task Forces, sustain their security operations, particularly isolating the reformables from the hard core Abu Sayyaf members through community-based dialogue, community support programs, and diplomatic mentoring," said Lieutenant General Carlito Galvez Jr., Westmincom chief. (SunStar Philippines)