Three IS-linked militants have surrendered to government troops in the southern province of Sulu, where a dozen of hostages are still held. Army Brigadier General Cirilito Sobejana, commander of Joint Task Force Sulu, announced the surrender of the Abu Sayyaf terrorists.
Sobejana informed that the militants surrendered to the troops of the Philippine Army’s 32nd Infantry Battalion along with their high-powered fire-arms.
The militants, who hail from the village of Liang, also in Patikul, are followers of the late Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Ninok Sappari, who was head of the “Lucky 9” group in Sulu.
Sappari’s group assassinated military personnel and kidnapped both locals and foreigners in Sulu and Tawi-Tawi. Sappari was wanted in 32 cases of murder.
“The surrendered Abu Sayyaf members are currently undergoing a custodial debriefing facilitated by our intelligence operatives,” said Sobejana.
Army Lt. General Carlito Galvez, chief of the Western Mindanao Command, welcomed the surrender of the terrorists, saying they will prepare them for reintegration into mainstream society.
Galvez added that military offenses will continue in spite of the mounting number of terrorists who are now deciding to surrender.
“Efforts are ongoing to rescue the hostages and contain the bandits in the province,” he added.
More than a dozen hostages including Vietnamese, Malaysian nationals, a Dutchman and Filipinos are believed to be held captive by the Abu Sayyaf group in remote jungles of Sulu.