SHARIFF AGUAK, Maguindanao: The military campaign launched by task forces of the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) since January has resulted in the deaths of 94 hard-core members of the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group, apprehension of 66 more, surrender of 98, and recovery of 148 firearms.
Two of the Abu Sayyaf members surrendered to the Joint Task Force Basilan under Colonel Juvymax Uy last Thursday, according to Capt. Jo-ann Petinglay, Westmincom spokesman.
Petinglay said Serham Hasim Akkalun and Hapid Madjakin, both Basilan-based Abu Sayyaf members, surrendered to the elements of the 13th Special Forces Company based in Barangay Guinanta, Albarka, Basilan.
“We welcome those who return to the fold of the law and accord them the opportunity to live normal lives, far from what they have been facing before as combatants who engaged the government forces and who fight for extremism to thrive in Mindanao,” said Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez, Jr., Westmincom chief.
“Rest assured that with all these operational feats, we will not rest on our laurels and will, instead, continue to work hard and integrate the efforts of our soldiers and our stakeholders in sustaining the internal security in Mindanao and in bringing about the defeat of the Abu Sayyaf,” added Galvez.
Akkalun and Madjakin turned over an M1 Garand rifle and a clip with four rounds of ammunition.
They went through a debriefing conducted by Joint Task Force Basilan soldiers, and were turned over to the police for legal procedures.
The military said Akkalun twice escaped from the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology in Basilan, on December 13, 2009 and on January 27, 2015.
Madjakin told soldiers he was an Abu Sayyaf member under the late sub-leader Long Malat.
“On the tactical level, the combat operations of our troops are currently being intensified to pressure the Abu Sayyaf bandits to yield to the government forces. With the surrender of the bandits and the seizure of their strongholds, we are confident that our offensives on the ground are effective,” said Colonel Uy.