CAMP ENRILE, Zamboanga City – Seven members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) surrendered to government troops in the province of Basilan, a top military official announced Thursday.
Maj. Gen. Gerardo Barrientos Jr., Joint Task Force Zambasulta, said the seven members of the ASG surrendered,with firearms, on two separate days–Monday and Tuesday – in Sitio Bohe-Bohe Pahu, Barangay Camalig, Ungkaya Pukan, Basilan.
Barrientos identified the ASG surrenderers were Sulaiman Kasaran alias Abu Jaid, Marwin Asan Kasaran alias Hadjie, Derwin Asan Kasaran alias Dikki, Halid Asan Kasaran alais Nasirin Awwalin, Hadzmin Kuluman Kasaran alias Ammin, Faisal Laudmin Kasaran alias Issa and Ballie, and Salman Najallon Kasaran alias Sat and Mhanz.
They were the first group to surrender to the government since the ASG was organized in the 90s.
Barrientos said they turned in assorted high-power firearms that include three M-16 Armalite rifles, one caliber .30 M1 Garand rifle, one M-79 grenade launcher, and one caliber .45 pistol.
Barrientos said they will be duly endorsed to the Gov. Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) “for rehabilitation and integration into the mainstream of our society.”
“The ASG members realized that fighting the government and enduring hard life in the mountains is a lost cause,” he said.
He said surrender of the seven ASG members was made possible through the help of the populace and municipal government of Ungkaya Pukan.
He said the sincere coordination and passion of the government in delivering the message for peace and reconciliation on the ground made the pivotal role to convince the other ASG members to return to the folds of the law.
Meanwhile, Barrientos, who is also the Army’s 1st Infantry Division commander, lauded the efforts of the troops of Joint Task Group Basilan headed by Col. Rolando Joselito Bautista for a job well done.
He said that their surrender is a clear victory for the people of Basilan who yearn for peace and desire to live lawfully and peacefully.