2 ASG bandits surrender to live a new life

Two Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) bandits have surrendered amid the implementation of the Army’s Mass Base Operations (MBO) and Community Support Programs (CSP) in Barangay Upper Sinumaan in Talipao, Sulu, military officials announced Monday.

Brig. Gen. Eugenio Boquio, 1101st Infantry Brigade commander, received the two ASG surrenderers, Sibakkal Salahuddin alias Tuan Mawang, 66; and Isbain Sakilan, 49, who yielded on New Year’s Day in Sitio Timpuad, Upper Sinumaan.

Boquio said the two surrenderers revealed during the initial debriefing that they joined the ASG to seek refuge from “rido” (family feud) sometime in 2000.

“They were active combatants for a year before laying low as supporters (for the past two decades),” Boquio said in a statement Monday.

Troops of the Army’s 2nd Special Forces Battalion led by Lt. Col. Benito Ramos Jr. are currently conducting MBO and CSP initiatives in Barangay Upper Sinumaan.

The MBO is a peculiar capability of the Special Forces units. It is conducted in challenging areas to enable a conducive environment favorable to government forces.

The MBO, on the other hand, denies the enemy critical resources and isolates them from mass support, attacking critical vulnerabilities that empower the enemy’s capabilities.

Ramos said that Awang Magking, the village chair of Upper Sinumaan, also played an instrumental role that led to the surrender of the two bandits.

Salahuddin, one of the surrenderers, said they will no longer worry as they can also see and feel the support the soldiers are doing for them.

“They are helping us now in building our houses and livelihood,” he said in a separate statement released Monday.

Salahuddin is also among the beneficiaries of the “Balik-Barangay” Program for displaced families in Barangay Upper Sinumaan.

The program is jointly being implemented by the Talipao Municipal Task Force to End Local Armed Conflict (MTF-ELAC) and military units under Joint Task Force (JTF)-Sulu.

The MTF-ELAC is Sulu’s version of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).

“Through the conduct of development efforts, we are looking forward to eventually render the ASG irrelevant in our area of operations,” Boquio said.

“Together with the municipality of Talipao, the 1101st Infantry Brigade will be steadfast in promoting peace and development for our Tausug brothers and sisters,” he added.

Since September last year, 14 ASG bandits have surrendered in Talipao, Sulu.

The Talipao MTF-ELAC is profiling the ASG surrenderers to undergo a reintegration program.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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