A DOZEN members of the Abu Sayyaf, a kidnap-for-ransom group that has also in recent years allied with the extremist Islamic State, turned themselves in to security forces Friday, the military reported on Sunday.  

The 12 men surrendered to the Joint Task Force Sulu through the 1101st Infantry Brigade headquarters in Talipao, Sulu on June 10 and gave up weapons, including M16 rifles, grenade launches and pistols, according to the JTF commander, Maj. Gen. Ignatius N. Patrimonio.  

The influx of (Abu Sayyaf) returnees is an indicative of our successful peace and security campaign in Sulu. Let us therefore continue our concerted efforts to finally end terrorism,Mr. Patrimonio said in a statement released by the Philippine Army.   

The government has a program for former rebel group members that include social assistance and livelihood training.   

Since 2017, the Sulu task force has recorded 823 Abu Sayyaf returnees, according to Mr. Patrimonio.  

For this year, 65 members of the group have surrendered so far, he added. MSJ