THE military believes that the demise of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) is imminent because government troops have driven out the bandits from their lairs and have surrounded the terrorists.
Reports reaching the military headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City said that five more Islamic militants were killed as government forces continue to pound the strongholds of the group in Sulu following the beheading of a German sailor.
Among those killed, according to Col. Cirilito Sobejana, commander of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Joint Task Force Sulu, was Jaber Susukan, brother of ASG sub-commander Idang Susukan, who was seriously wounded. Another sub-commander said to be close to ASG leader Radullan Sahiron was critically wounded, the military said.
This brought to 14 the number of jihadists killed since security forces launched pursuit operations against the terrorist group that executed Jurgen Kantner.
Kantner’s body was found in the village of Buanza in Indanan town Sunday.
Sporadic clashes continued on Monday as security forces surrounded the enemies’ position.
“Our operations continue. Actually, we have them surrounded, hopefully the result will be better later on,” Sobejana said.
He admitted that soldiers are having a hard time because of the rough terrain.
“Troops are buried up to the waist in mud because it is a mangrove area. It is really challenging. But the troops are there,” Sobejana added.
“Right now we are holding their strongholds, they are outside their comfort zones, that’s why it’s easier for us to defeat them because they’ve been driven into areas where they do not enjoy the support of the community,” he said.