President-elect Duterte is considering implementing martial law in the Sulu Archipelago in an attempt to eliminate Abu Sayyaf.
The terrorist group has continually engaged in high-profile kidnappings, often targeting business owners and foreigners. Recently the group has begun decapitating its captives after ransom demands are not met.
Duterte told reporters during his pre-election campaign that he would not hesitate to invade Sulu if Abu Sayyaf did not surrender to his demands.
Today, the group is still holding at least 10 people for ransom including Robert Hall, Kjartan Sekkingstad and Marites Flor who were taken captive on Samal Island, near Davao City.
Abu Sayyaf has already killed and decapitated John Ridsdel after his family and the Canadian government refused to deliver on the 300 million-peso ransom demand for his release.
Abu Sayyaf have now given a deadline of June 13 for the release of Hall and Sekkingstad, with a demand for 300 million pesos each – or they will decapitate them both too.
Recent reports say that an additional army battalion has been deployed to Sulu for a massive offensive against Abu Sayyaf before the deadline.
To date there are eight battalions in Sulu, and the same number in Bansalin
Sources suggest that two additional battalions could be deployed if martial law was implemented in the region.
Abu Sayyaf has infested Sulu and Bansilan for over four decades. However they have now announced their affiliation to the so-called Islamic State.
The group was responsible for the Philippines’ worst terrorist attack when they bombed Super Ferry #14 in 2014, killing 116 people.