ZAMBOANGA CITY – The Philippine military announced Wednesday the surrender of 11 notorious Abu Sayyaf fighters wanted for piracy and kidnappings in Sabah in Malaysia; and gruesome crimes in southern Philippines.
Army Captain Jo-ann Petinglay, a spokesperson for the Western Mindanao Command, said two of those who yielded to the military were sub-leaders involved in cross-border raids in Malaysia’s eastern state of Sabah.
“Two notorious sub-leaders of the Abu Sayyaf group and nine more Abu Sayyaf bandits tagged in cross-border kidnappings and other nefarious activities surrendered to the troops of the Joint Task Forces Tawi-Tawi and Basilan under the Western Mindanao Command as all-out military offensives ensue in Mindanao,” she said.
Petinglay said the duo – Berong Sariol and Ben Sariol – were commanders of the ISIS-affiliate group operating in Tawi-Tawi. The others have been identified by the military as Jasim Dambong, Mujil Dambong, Magelan Langal, Kael Sariol, Nurhamin Sariol, Alhan Sariol, Amnisain Sariol, Akmad Sariol, and Benasil Sariol – all from Tawi-Tawi.
Both sub-leaders had been previously arrested by authorities in Tawi-Tawi’s Bongao town in May 2009, but freed due to the failure of law enforcers to present arrest warrants. All those who surrendered were also wanted in Sabah for piracy and kidnappings, the military said.
Petinglay said the Sariol group was tagged as behind the January 2008 brutal murder of a Catholic priest, Reynaldo Roda, in South Ubian in Tawi-Tawi and the April 2014 kidnappings in Sabah of Chinese tourist Gao Hua Yun and Filipina resort worker Marcy Dayawan, including Mayor Kuyoh Pajiji, of Tawi-Tawi’s Sibutu town in June 2003; and Korean ship captain Chul Hong Park and his Filipino crew Glen Alendajao, also in Tawi-Tawi last year.
“The Sariol group is wanted in Sabah for various piracy and kidnapping offenses,” she said, adding, all of them were being interrogated by the military before handing them over to the local police.
Just recently, one Abu Sayyaf member, Ferdauz Asgari, a follower of Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Nurhassan Jamiri in Basilan province also surrendered to the 74th Infantry Battalion in Tipo-Tipo town. He also yielded a Garand rifle. The military said 16 Abu Sayyaf fighters had surrendered since January in Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, three of five provinces under the Muslim autonomous region.
The government has not offered any amnesty to the Abu Sayyaf and other jihadist groups fighting for the establishment of a caliphate in the restive region.
On Tuesday, ssecurity forces killed at least 11 Abu Sayyaf fighters in fierce clashes that also left 3 soldiers dead and two more injured in Bohol province in central Philippines. Among those killed was a notorious jihadist leader, Muammar Askali alias Abu Rami, who was implicated in the beheading of several foreign hostages of the Abu Sayyaf in Sulu province.
The fighting erupted in the village of Ilaya in Inabanga town where civilians reported to the police the presence of heavily-armed jihadists who arrived in several speedboats. The Western Mindanao Command said it provided intelligence to its counterpart in the Visayas on the movement of the Abu Sayyaf.
It said continuous military operations against the Abu Sayyaf in Basilan and Sulu constricted or limited the capability of the group to mount ransom kidnappings or terrorism in the region and forced the jihadists to strike in other areas. (Mindanao Examiner)
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