TWELVE members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) have surrendered to authorities in Basilan province, the military reported Wednesday, December 6, 2023.
Brigadier General Alvin Luzon, 101st Infantry Brigade commander, attributed the surrender of the 12 ASG followers to the continuous campaign of the provincial government headed by Governor Jim Hataman-Salliman, Hadji Mohammad Adjul municipal government and Hadji Shams Al-din Ahaddin of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH)-Basilan.
Luzon said they surrendered after Sulu-based ASG bomb maker Mundi Sawadjaan was killed in an encounter with government troops on Saturday off Basilan province.
Luzon said two of the 12 ASG surrenderers were followers of Radzmil Jannatul while the 10 others were followers of Puruji Indama.
Jannatul was killed in a clash with soldiers on March 25, 2022 in Baiwas village, Sumisip, Basilan, while Indama was killed on September 9, 2020 on the coast of R.T. Lim town in Zamboanga Sibugay province.
Luzon presented the 12 ASG surrenderers to Major General Ignatius Patrimonio, Joint Task Force Orion commander, at the 101st Infantry Brigade headquarters in Tabiawan village, Isabela City, Basilan on Wednesday.
He was hopeful that not long from now Basilan can be declared as totally free of ASG.
Patrimonio said the series of military operations and the death of Sawadjaan had resulted in the surrender of the 12 ASG members.
Patrimonio said more troops will be deployed in Basilan even as he emphasized that the ASG’s strength has been waning these days due to the neutralization of its leaders and the eventual surrender of its remaining members.
“In due time, we will also declare Basilan as ASG-free as we have been given the mandate to finish them off and to finally end violent extremism,” he said.
Salliman has commended the 101st Infantry Brigade for its unwavering campaign to maintain peace and order in Basilan. (SunStar Zamboanga)