ILIGAN CITY – Tired of hiding from government forces, two Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) members laid down their arms and surrendered to authorities at the 101st Infantry Brigade headquarters in Barangay Tabiawan, Isabela City, Basilan on Monday, January 11.
According to Armed Forces of the Philippines-Western Mindanao Command (AFP-WesMinCom) Head Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan Jr., Ahmad Ontong, also known as Abu Kujaypa, 35 years old, and a resident of Barangay Upper Manggas, Lantawan, Basilan; and Absirin Abul, alias Abs, 38, and a resident of Barangay Palahanan, Pilas Island, Hadji Muhtamad surrendered to Joint Task Force Basilan Commander Col. Domingo Gobway.
“Based on our records, the two are members of the group under the late ASG leader Isnilon Hapilon,” said Vinluan.
Initial debriefing revealed that Ontong and Abul were threatened by Hapilon into forcing them to join the group in 2001.
They were involved in numerous attacks launched by the group in Basilan, particularly in Sumisip and Maluso area.
However, the two said they did not participate in the Marawi siege, but stayed in Basilan and hid when Hapilon was neutralized, said Gobway.
“Tired of hiding, they decided to surrender and return to the mainstream society,” he added.
The former ASG members turned over an M1 Garand rifle with one clip and eight rounds of ammunition, and an M14 rifle with one magazine and 17 rounds of ammunition.
“The deepened multi-sector alliance continues to bear positive results”. This is attributable to the good governance of the local chief executives, the resolve of our soldiers, and the support of our stakeholders,” stated Vinluan.
“We call on those who remain in hiding, now is the time for you to come out and avail of our reintegration programs for you and your families,” the commander added.