2 ASG leaders, 19 followers surrender in Sulu

2 ASG leaders, 19 followers surrender in Sulu

ZAMBOANGA CITY – Two leaders of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and their 19 followers have surrendered to authorities in Sulu province, police and military officials said Tuesday.

Col. Richard Verceles, operations chief of the Area Police Command-Western Mindanao, said ASG leader Majid Said and his subleader, Jamiri Jauhari, have yielded together with their followers Sunday at the headquarters of the Army’s 104th Infantry Battalion (104IB) in Barangay Bon-Bon, Patikul, Sulu.

Verceles said the group surrendered through the joint efforts of military and police forces following a series of negotiations.

The surrenderers turned over 10 high-powered firearms consisting of seven M14 rifles and three M16 rifles.

Brig. Gen. Benjamin Batara Jr., the Army’s 1103rd Infantry Brigade commander, presented the 21 ASG surrenderers to Maj. Gen. Ignatius Patrimonio, 11th Infantry Division (ID) commander, and Patikul Mayor Kabir Hayudini in a simple ceremony at the 104IB headquarters.

The ASG surrenderers received food and financial assistance from the 11ID and the Patikul municipal government as initial aid.

Meanwhile, Brig. Gen. Arturo Rojas, acting commander of the Western Mindanao Command, said he is optimistic that the ASG in Sulu will soon be defeated.

“We were anticipating this (surrender) because of the well-integrated civil and military strategy of the campaign plan,” Rojas said.

Because of the government’s “whole-of-nation approach,” he said the military managed to rally the support of the populace in helping convince ASG members to surrender and rejoin the mainstream society. (PNA)

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