Seven Abu Sayyaf terrorists have surrendered in the province of Sulu, military officials announced today (Wednesday, September 20).
Brigadier General Cirilito Sobejana, the commander of Joint Task Force Sulu, identified the seven as Musoy Elani, aged 25; Tayong Bahala, 50; Muknan Basir, 30; Aldin Akmad, 25; Willing Jaabal, 45; Ijal Sadjal, 25; and Emar Udjah, 17.
Three of them surrendered to the Army’s 2nd Special Forces Battalion at about 10pm on Monday in the town of Pata on Sulu Island.
Brig. Gen. Sobejana said they turned over an M16 Armalite rifle, a calibre .30 M1 Garand rifle and a caliber .45 pistol.
“This capitulation is a product of the intensified offensives being launched by our troops to contain the terrorists and rescue the hostages held captive in the area,” he said.
The other four men surrendered to the same special forces battalion in the village of Likud, near Pata, on Saturday.
These men were all followers of the late Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Alhabsy Misaya.
Brig. Gen. Sobejana said they handed over three M1 Garand rifles and an M16 Armalite rifle.
114 Abu Sayyaf terrorists surrender
The surrender of the seven men brings the number of Abu Sayyaf members who have surrendered to the government up to 114 since January.
Of that total, 65 yielded to troops in Basilan, 26 in Sulu, 21 in Tawi-Tawi and two in Zamboanga City.
Lieutenant General Carlito Galvez, commander of Westmincom, said: “We encourage and welcome those Abu Sayyaf members who are willing to lay down their arms and join the mainstream.
“It is best that they peacefully surrender rather than fight our more superior troops that might cost them their lives.”
Abu Sayyaf was established in 1991 with funds gifted by a relative of Osama bin Laden. However, in recent years the group has switched its allegiance from Al Qaeda to the so-called Islamic State (IS).