THREE members and a supporter of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) have surrendered to military authorities in Basilan province, an official said Saturday, November 20.

Their surrender brought the total number of Abu Sayyaf surrenderers in Basilan province to 32 since January 2021.

Major General Alfredo Rosario, Jr., commander of the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom), withheld the identity of the surrenderers for security reasons. They surrendered Thursday, November 18, through the efforts of the 18th Infantry Battalion (IB) and 4th Special Forces Battalion (4SFBn).

The surrenderers turned over the one M-16 Armalite rifle, one Carbine rifle, and two Garand rifles to Lieutenant Colonel Egverr Jonathan Abutin, 18IB commander.

“We express our sincerest gratitude to the local government unit of Ungkaya Pukan led by Vice Mayor Jomar Maturan and the barangay officials of Bohebaca, Tipo-Tipo led by Chairman Harun Harirun for their unwavering support to our unit’s efforts that led to the surrender of the ASG personalities,” Abutin said.

The surrenderers will receive livelihood assistance through the Program Against Violent Extremism (PAVE) for peace.

The surrenderers revealed during the custodial debriefing that they are tired of hiding and want to live a normal and peaceful life with their families.

“We encourage the other members of the Abu Sayyaf Group to surrender and unite towards a progressive and peaceful Basilan. War is not the answer to hunger and poverty, but teamwork so that we can develop the province and uplift our lives,” said Brigadier General Domingo Gobway, commander of the Joint Task Force (JTF)-Basilan.

“The doors of the JTF-Basilan and provincial government of Basilan are open to help you live a peaceful life and away from danger,” Gobway added.

Of the total 32 who surrendered since January, 29 were regular members and the remaining three were supports of the ASG. (SunStar Zamboanga)

Source: SunStar (