ZAMBOANGA CITY – The total number of Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) surrenderers has risen to 40 since January as another rebel yielded in Tawi-Tawi province, military officials announced Saturday.
Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan Jr., commander of the Western Mindanao Command, identified the latest ASG surrenderer as 34-year-old Muharral Jamalul Kadiri, who carries the aliases Al, Als, Ars, Arral, and Kadir, of Barangay Lakit-Lakit, Bongao town, Tawi-Tawi.
Vinluan said Kadiri also turned over an M1-4 rifle with ammunition to the Marine Battalion Landing Team 12 (MBLT-12) in Bongao at about 2 p.m. on Thursday.
Lt. Col. Henry Espinosa, MBLT-12 commander, said Kadiri was recruited by the Sulu-based ASG under sub-leader “Abu Iko” and “Abu Samuel” sometime in 2018 and was involved in several clashes with Army troops in the towns of Patikul and Maimbung, Sulu province.
Espinosa said Kadiri, who feared for his safety, left the ASG in 2019 due to the intensified focused military operations.
He moved to Bongao and laid low for more than a year until he finally decided to surrender.
He is currently undergoing custodial debriefing at the MBLT-12 headquarters before his turnover to the local government of Bongao.
Vinluan said 32 of the 40 ASG bandits who have surrendered are from Sulu, six from Basilan, and two from 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,” he added. (PNA)