SHARIFF AGUAK, Maguindanao: Two notorious sub-leaders of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and nine other ASG bandits suspected in cross-border kidnappings and other heinous activities surrendered in Tawi-Tawi as all-out military offensives continue in Mindanao.
Abu Sayyaf sub-leaders Berong Sariol, alias Boy Master and Ben Saudi Dambong, alias, Boy Pangit – commanders of the ISIS-affiliated group – and nine other ASG members turned over their firearms to the Joint Task Forces Tawi-Tawi led by Brigadier General Custodio Parcon Jr., at the Marine Barracks Domingo Deluana in Bongao town recently.
The nine other surrenderers were: Jasim and Mujil Dambong; Magelan Langal; Kael, Nurhamin, Alhan, Amnisain, Akmad, and Benasil Sariol; all of Sitio Gigipan, Barangay Baldatal in Sapa-Sapa, Tawi-Tawi.
Capt. Jo-ann Petinglay, spokesperson of the Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom), said Berong Sariol, 39, is a known ASG/KFRG (kidnap-for-ransom gang) leader operating in Tawi-Tawi.
In May 2009 both sub-leaders were arrested in Bongao but were released in Zamboanga City because there was no warrant for their arrest.
Petinglay also said the group was involved in the beheading of Father Reynaldo Roda, OMI, in South Ubian, Tawi-Tawi; abduction of Mayor Hji KuyohPajiji of Sibuto town; kidnapping of Filipino Marc Dayawan and Chinese Gao Hua Yun at the Singamata Resort in Sampurnah, Sabah and the abduction of Chulhong Park and Glen Alendajao in Tawi-Tawi on October 23, 2016.
She added that the Sariol group is also wanted in Sabah for various piracy and kidnapping offenses.
The surrendered ASG members were turned over to the Tawi-Tawi police.
From January 1 to April 12, about 16 ASG bandits have surrendered to the Joint Task Forces of Westmincom – four to the troops in Basilan, one in Sulu and 11 in Tawi-Tawi.
On April 8, ASG member Ferdauz Asgari, alias Mammong, a known follower of sub-leader Nurhassan Jamiri, also surrendered to the troops of the 74th Infantry Battalion in Tipo-Tipo, Basilan.
“Your armed forces remain committed in maintaining internal security in Mindanao with the all-out offensives being launched by the Joint Task Forces of the Western Mindanao Command. Our troops on the ground will continue to work with the local governments and the Mindanaoans in suppressing the Abu Sayyaf and thwarting the perpetration of atrocities within our joint area of operations. This has borne fruit with the surrender of 16 members in a short span of time,” Lt. General Carlito Galvez Jr., Westmincom chief, said.
The government has not offered amnesty to the ASG and other jihadist groups.
On Tuesday, security forces killed at least 11 ASG fighters in fierce clashes that left three soldiers dead and two more injured in Bohol. Among those killed was notorious jihadist leader Muammar Askali alias Abu Rami, who was implicated in the beheadings of several ASG foreign hostages in Sulu.
The fighting erupted in the village of Ilaya in Inabanga town after civilians reported the presence of heavily-armed jihadists who arrived in several speedboats.
The Westmincom said it provided intelligence data to its counterpart in the Visayas on the movement of the Abu Sayyaf.
It said continuous military operations against the bandits in Basilan and Sulu constricted the group’s capability to mount kidnappings for ransom or terrorist activities in the region and forced the jihadists to strike in other areas.
BY AL JACINTO