ZAMBOANGA CITY— Eight members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) have surrendered to military authorities on the island province of Sulu, the military reported Monday.
Brig. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, Joint Task Force Sulu commander, said the group surrendered at around 7:35 a.m. Saturday to the Army’s Second Special Forces Battalion headed by Lt. Col. Jessie Montoya.
Sobejana said the surrenderers were followers of the late ASG sub-leader Alhabsi Misaya, who was killed in a firefight with government troops on April 28, this year, in Silangkan, Parang, Sulu.
They were identified as follows: Rakib Usman Mujakkir, 35; Sadhikal Sabi Asnon, 38; Jarrain Elil, 52; Wahab Buklaw, 47; Anggan Ali Sahaw, 43; Bandi Ahadjula, 56; Adih Manis Juhaini, 25; and, Alden Banon, 30.
The surrenderers operated mostly in the municipalities of Omar, Panamao, Tongkil, and Parang.
Sobejana said they turned over one M-16 Armalite rifle, one M-14 rifle, and five Garand rifles.
“Mujakkir and his companions capitulated to the troops as a result of the sustained conduct of combat and intelligence operations launched by our ground forces against the Abu Sayyaf,” Sobejana said.
He said they were placed under the custody of the 2nd Special Forces Battalion in Barangay Samak, Talipao for documentation and custodial debriefing after they undergone medical examination.
The surrender of Mujakkir and his companions brought to 135 the total number of ASG members who surrendered since the government launched an intensified campaign against them in January 1, this year.
Of the total, 71 surrendered in Basilan, 41 in Sulu, 21 in Tawi-Tawi, and two in Zamboanga City.
Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr., Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) chief, said they anticipate more followers of Misaya to surrender “as we continue to pin down and pressure the bandits to cross their line and thwart their nefarious ploys in Western Mindanao.”