By Francis Wakefield
Seven Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) fighters surrendered and also handed over their high-powered firearms to authorities in Sulu on Sunday, March 31.
Abu Sayyaf members Araham Abdul, Delson Abdul, Jenyor Daihan Madjid, Wilson Tatting Asid, Jasim Uppih Umair, Nurhajir Amirol Patta, and Adsjar Hassan Sabdani yielded to Col. Antonio Nafarrete, 1101st brigade commander.
The also turned over an M16 rifle, five Garand rifles, and a calibre-.45 pistol.
They are former followers of Abu Sayyaf sub-leaders Alhabsy Misaya, Sibih Pisih, and Apoh Mike.
Their surrender was facilitated by the Second Special Forces Battalion, and was witnessed by Mayor Madzar Loong of Parang, Sulu at 11 a.m. Sunday.
Troops subsequently brought the returnees to Kuta Heneral Teodulfo Bautista Hospital in Bus-bus, Jolo for medical check-up.
On March 30, Misal Abdulwahid, a follower of Idang Susukan, also yielded to Nafarrete.
Lt. Gen. Arnel Dela Vega, Western Mindanao Command chief, said the series of surrenders was an offshoot of the no let-up campaign being launched by military troops to quell terrorism in its area of responsibility.
“With our sustained offensives, we anticipate that more Abu Sayyaf militants will heed the clamor for them to give up, rebuild their hopes, and work for peace with every Suluanon,” Dela Vega said.
“We will sustain pursuit operations against the Abu Sayyaf to ensure the safety of the people on the ground and that peace in their community will be achieved soon,” he added.