Abu Sayyaf toll: 81 killed, 18 apprehended, 50 surrendered

Posted on May 19, 2017

THE government’s all-out offensive against the kidnap-for-ransom Abu Sayyaf Group has killed 81 members since January, plus 18 apprehended, and 50 who have voluntarily surrendered. In a report released by the Western Mindanao Command (WesMinCom) yesterday, the military said they have also seized 70 high-powered firearms from the group, mainly in operations within the island province of Sulu. Lieutenant General Carlito G. Galvez, Jr, WesMinCom commander, said in a statement that his standing order to the Joint Task Force Sulu is to “flush out the Abu Sayyaf from their comfort zones and bring them to places where they are vulnerable.” “This is exactly what is happening in Sulu and in other provinces confronting Abu Sayyaf threat,” said Mr. Galvez. He cited the support of local officials and other stakeholders, including the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Moro National Liberation Front, in their operations. “Our forces are in full throttle doing both lethal and non-lethal approaches. It will just be a matter of time that we will defeat the entire group,” Mr. Galvez said. The military estimates that there were about 500 Abu Sayyaf members as of January this year. -- Albert F. Arcilla