Two members of a terror group were killed while four others were arrested after police and military operatives launched combat operations against the Abu Sayyaf Group in Indanan, Sulu past midnight Thursday, the military said.
Lt. Col. Gerry Besana, public information officer of the Western Mindanao Command, said the two ASG bandits were killed after they resisted arrest following an anti-terror and illegal drugs operations in Barangay Kajatian at about 1:30 am.
Besana identified the two slain bandits as Jade Hassan, alias Radjik, and Kemar Jade while the four arrested militants were Lino Tantung, 42; Hamjir Sahidal, 199; Sajiyal Alamia, 46 and Arajal Amicul Aida, 46.
Police and military forces recovered a 12-gauge shotgun with 8 bullets; two cal..45 pistols with two magazines and 14 live bullets from the scene of fighting.
Authorities also seized a heated sealed transparent plastic believed to be shabu from Sahidal.
Besana said the bodies of the two slain were held for postmortem care at Camp Teodulfo Bautista Station Hospital while the recovered firearms and ammunition were turned over to the ARMM-Sulu for documentation.
He said the operation leading to the killing was part of the intensified joint law enforcement conducted by the Joint Task Force Sulu and Sulu Police Provincial Office in accordance with the “War on Drugs” of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Besana also said the operations formed part of the efforts of JTF Sulu to get rid of the banditry and violent extremist group in the area.
“Time and again, the government forces have given terror groups two options: one, to lay down their arms and return to the fold of the law or, two, fight and deal with the full force of the law (sic),” he said.
Besana said the JTF Sulu had convinced significant number of Abu Sayyaf who decided to surrender and live a new life and were now assisted by the government agencies.
Since January, hundreds of ASG members were forced to yield to the security forces following massive combat operations against terror groups operating not only in Sulu but also in Basilan and other parts of Mindanao.
Meanwhile, the military scored anew in its fight with the communist New People’s Army in recent encounters and surrenders across the country.
The largest number of surrenderers was recorded in Eastern Mindanao with 8,665 NPA cadres yielding to authorities covering the period from January to Oct. 10 this year, according to authorities.
At least 821 firearms were seized from the former NPAs and encounters and 324 improvised explosive devices and 131 encampments.
“I commend our troops in the Eastern Mindanao Command and local government units for being able to handle an overwhelming number of surrenderees (sic), they still continue to come down and go back to the folds of the law,” AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr. said.
Aside from the EMC, military units in Northern Luzon Command also showed significant scor against the communist terrorists.
“These recent developments show that your Armed Forces is deliberate in our operations against insurgents and terrorists in all parts of the country. I continuously remind our troops in the five area commands to intensify operations against terrorists,” said Galvez.
“We also urge members of these terrorist groups to go back to the fold of the law instead of dying in senseless battles. The government is very eager to help returnees in all the ways that it can to sustain their families and help them go back to the normal way of living, away from armed struggle,” Galvez added.