40 ASG militants yield to gov’t troops in Q1 of 2021

40 ASG militants yield to gov’t troops in Q1 of 2021

By Arwen Pascua

MANILA — At least forty (4) individuals belonging to the terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group have yielded to the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

The latest of which surrendered in Tawi-Tawi on the afternoon of March 4, 2021, a high-ranking military official said.

“Based on the report submitted by Joint Task Force Tawi-Tawi, a certain Muharral Jamalul Kadiri, a.k.a. Al/Als/Ars/Arral/Kadir, 34 years old, married, and a resident of Barangay Lakit-Lakit, Bongao, Tawi-Tawi submitted himself to the troops of the Marine Battalion Landing Team-12 at 2 p.m. Thursday,” said Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan, Jr., Commander of the Western Mindanao Command.

“He brought along with him his customized Cal. M14 U.S. rifle with one magazine and 13 live ammunition,” Lt. Gen. Vinluan, Jr. added.

According to Lt. Col. Henry Espinosa, Commanding Officer of the MBLT-12, Kadiri was recruited by the Sulu-based ASG under sub-leader “Iko” and “Samuel” sometime in 2018 and was involved in seven encounters with the Philippine Army in the province of Sulu particularly in the areas of Patikul and Maimbung.

Kadiri said that he left the group sometime in 2019 due to the intensified focused military operations that might take his life. He moved to Bongao, Tawi-Tawi, and lived there for more than a year before deciding to return to the fold of the law.

“I would like to commend the troops of the Marine Battalion Landing Team-12 for the numerous accomplishments and significant gains in the campaign against terrorism and lawlessness in the island municipalities of Tawi-Tawi,” said Brig. Gen. Arturo Rojas, Commander of the Joint Task Force Tawi-Tawi.

The surrenderee is currently undergoing custodial debriefing at the MBLT-12 headquarters prior to his turn-over to the local government of Bongao.

Kadiri is the 40th member of the ASG who surrendered to the armed forces from January 2021 to date.

Of the 40, 32 surrendered in Sulu, six in Basilan, and two in Tawi-Tawi.

“This is a significant breakthrough in our peace campaign. We hope that the remaining members of the different threat groups in our area of operation will also be enlightened and will choose to end their armed struggle in a peaceful way,” said Lt. Gen. Vinluan, Jr.

“Rest assured that we will continue to intensify our operations to pin down those who refuse to cooperate with us and thereby dismantle the terror groups in western, southern, and central Mindanao,” the commander added. (AI/TMVN)

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