Following the failed attempt to rescue German national Juergen Kantner, government forces continued its offensive attacks against terrorist group Abu Sayyaf.
The joint forces of the Armed Forces and the PNP are optimistic on meeting the six-month deadline set by the President as Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana met up with the troops in Sulu yesterday.
Joint Task Force Sulu (JTFS) commander Col. Cirilito Sobejana assured that everyone is in full force as resources are sufficient.
Along with National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon and AFP chief Gen. Eduardo Año, Sobejana gave an update of what has been done so far.
He said that they are currently hunting down a total of 430 bandits in various areas in Sulu. So far, since the renewed offensive began late February there are 30 militants that have been killed.
There are at least seven more militants killed in an encounter in Maimbung town yesterday. One of them had been identified as Jaber Susukan, the brother of Abu Sayyaf leader Idang Susukan who was wounded.
“They have already suffered 30 killed and 22 wounded. We have the names we want to withhold for the time being,” Sobejana said.
Government records at least 28 wounded soldiers. So far, the government forces had occupied most of the main Abu Sayyaf camps including parts of the Sinumaan complex, which is known as a refuge for the terror group.
Sobejana also reported that the military has started using TA-50 fighter jets to aid their advance as they cover more ground.
Meanwhile, in a separate operation, the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) had arrested Gian Arasod, a suspected member of the Abu Sayyaf who carried a P1.24 million bounty. Arasod is wanted for 14 counts of murder and 12 counts of frustrated murder.