8 Abu Sayyaf members surrender in Sulu town
CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY AL JACINTO
The Manila Times
ZAMBOANGA CITY: The Philippine Army’s 1102nd Infantry Division announced on Thursday the surrender of eight Abu Sayyaf terrorists in the southern province of Sulu. Brig. Gen. Giovanni Franza, the Army commander, said the terrorists surrendered in the village of Tandu Bato in the town of Luuk on Tuesday, May 23, and handed over five rifles, a submachine gun and a handgun. Franza also said the surrenderers took their oath of allegiance to the government and vowed to support its peace and development efforts. They were given grocery goods and a bag of rice each as part of the assistance from the military and the municipal governments of Omar, Pata and Luuk where they came from. Franza said the surrender was witnessed by government officials headed by Noneyrie Asiri, the focal person of the Sulu Provincial Task Force in Ending Local Armed Conflict. “This activity is a testament of our collective vision of a united, prosperous and peaceful Sulu. Your surrender symbolizes the relative peace we are now enjoying in our province. We are all therefore instrumental in this narrative of change. To our ASG (Abu Sayyaf Group) returnees, we will support you and let us sustain the peace and prosperity in the province through your commitment and cooperation,” Franza quoted Asiri as telling the former terrorists during the ceremony. He lauded the 21st and 101st Infantry Battalions for their roles in the surrender of the Abu Sayyaf members. “It was through the efforts of the 21st Infantry Battalion and the 101st Infantry Battalion, the Abu Sayyaf members voluntarily surrendered,” Franza said, adding the former terrorists were under different commanders, many of them killed in battling security forces in the province. He welcomed the surrender of the Abu Sayyaf fighters, saying “now we have proved that we can be united for peace in Sulu.” The eight men will undergo debriefing and eventually be released to the care of the local governments and provide them with livelihood skills training, among other forms of assistance.