THE military pounded the positions of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in Sulu and Basilan a day after the beheading of German Juergen Gustav Kantner.
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Eduardo Año said soldiers launched air strikes and shelled the ASG camp in Barangay Macalam, Al-barka in Basilan on Monday.
“We have ongoing operations now in Basilan and Sulu, we will continue until we are able to rescue the remaining hostages and prevent future kidnapping,” said Año, who had earlier vowed to decimate the ASG and other terrorist groups in the south in six months.
In Tawi-Tawi, the AFP chief said the military has enough troops tasked to go after the Islamic militants.
The military has yet to determine the number of casualties but Maj. Richard Enciso, spokesman of the Philippine Army’s 1st Infantry Division, said there were bloodstains on the target of military operations.
“We sympathize with the family of Mr. Kantner because unfortunately he was beheaded by the Abu Sayyaf. But of course this would even make our troops more committed to pursue these perpetrators in order to bring them to justice,” Año said.
Col. Edgard Arevalo, chief of the AFP Public Affairs Office, said the military’s operations in the past days have been unrelenting.
“The AFP condemns in the strongest terms this abominable act of ruthlessness, loathe, and greed of this evil terrorist group. We commit to relentlessly pursue the ongoing all-out offensives to neutralize the perpetrators of this dastardly crime,” the AFP official said.
“There will be no let-up in our operations until we have rescued all the remaining kidnap victims and we have negated the Abu Sayyaf’s capability to continue to fight government and perpetrate their terrorist activities,” he added.
AFP units continue to search for the remains of Kantner with the help of the Philippine National Police (PNP).
Senior Supt. Dionardo Carlos, PNP spokesman, appealed to the public to refrain from propagating the video clip of Kantner’s execution.
“He rightfully deserves human dignity even in such gruesome death, while his family and friends deserve respect in this time of grief,” he said