ASG surrenderers rise to 21 as 1 more yields in Zambo City

Published February 2, 2021, 12:12 PM

by Philippine News Agency

ZAMBOANGA CITY – The number of Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) surrenderers within the Western Mindanao Command’s (Westmincom) area of operations since last month climbed to 21 as another ASG bandit yielded to military authorities, officials said Tuesday.

Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan Jr., commander of Westmincom, said Serhan Nieva Saliddin, a native of Indanan, Sulu, surrendered Monday to the Joint Task Force Zamboanga (JTFZ).

Saliddin, who lay low for more than three years, yielded an M-14 rifle when he surrendered to the JTFZ headed by Col. Antonio John Divinagracia.

Divinagracia said Saliddin decided to surrender “because he wants to clear his name and his being linked to the notorious group.”

“Through a negotiation with our intelligence personnel, he is now done being a lawless element and is ready to be reintegrated into the mainstream society,” Divinagracia said.

Vinluan said Saliddin was a follower of Sulu-based ASG leader Mujer Yada and has served as one of the guards of four kidnap victims consisting of two Canadians, a Norwegian, and a Filipina.

The ASG bandits kidnapped Canadians Robert Hall and John Ridsdel, Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad, and Filipina Marites Flor on Sept. 21, 2015 at Oceanview Resort in the Island Garden City of Samal, Davao del Norte.

The ASG killed the two Canadians for failure to pay the ransom while Flor and Sekkingstad were freed separately in 2016.

For fear of his safety, Saliddin said he decided to lie low and started moving from one place to another, after which he traveled to Sabah in January 2019 where he worked construction worker.

He then moved to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where he was imprisoned due to illegal entry and was among the Filipino deportees sent back to this city in October last year due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

Meanwhile, Lt. Col. Alaric Avelino Delos Santos, Westmincom Civil-Military Operations chief, said Saliddin would be enrolled in the government’s reintegration and rehabilitation program.

“We hope that more of our misled brothers will follow his footstep,” delos Santos added.

Lt. Col. Haywein Salvado of the Zamboanga City Police Office (ZCPO) said Saliddin has no pending case and is free to be reintegrated into mainstream society.