MANILA –Following the recent offensives launched by the groups, the Armed Forces of the Philippines will be conducting a sustained campaign against the Abu Sayyaf and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters.
“I want to significantly lessen the bandits’ ability to carry out violent attacks against civilians before I retire in July 2015,” Catapang said in a statement issued yesterday.
No matter how staunch their defenses are, he also added that the military troops are still reminded to minimize collateral damage during the operations.
“We can protect the civilian populace by isolating them from armed groups. We also need accurate information from the people themselves,” he said.
In the recent clashes between the army and the bandits, a total of 24 Abu Sayyaf and two soldiers were reported to be killed.
Meanwhile, Armed Forces spokesman Col. Restituto Padilla also added that Abu Sayyaf leader, Hatib Sawadjaan was also reported to be injured.
The said report, however still needs validation.
“Philippines is looking for a decisive engagement but the Abu Sayyaf do not clash with us head on. They have been avoiding us since they sustained losses during the previous engagement,” Padilla said.