AFP turns over rescued kidnap victims to Indonesian government

Aileen Cerrudo   •   March 24, 2021   •   356

MANILA, Philippines—The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has turned over four rescued kidnap victims of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) to the Indonesian government.

AFP Chief Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana on Tuesday (March 23) led the turnover ceremony at the General Headquarters Canopy Area in Camp Aguinaldo. The Indonesian Embassy led by Charge d’affaires, Widya Rahmanto received the kidnap victims.

“The kidnap victims have been held captive by the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) for more than a year and through the AFP’s relentless efforts, the ASG who were based in Sulu, were driven out of their comfort zones and mass base, which eventually led to the successful rescue operation last week in Tawi-Tawi,” Sobejana said.

The four Indonesians namely, Riswanto Bin Hayono, Arical Kastamiran, Arsyad Bin Dahalan, and Khairuldin Bin Yai Kii were flown to Manila from Zamboanga City on Sunday (March 21).

Hayono, Kastamiran and Dahalan were among the rescued individuals in South Ubian, Tawi-Tawi on March 18 by Tandubas Police. Meanwhile, the 15-year old Yai Kii was rescued by elements of the Joint Task Force Tawi-Tawi on Sunday in Kalupag Island, Languyan, Tawi-Tawi. AAC

 

1 dead, 3 hurt in military clash with Abu Sayyaf Group in Sulu

Robie de Guzman   •   May 14, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — A suspected Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) member was killed while three soldiers were injured in a gunfight in Sulu, the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Western Mindanao Command (AFP-WestMinCom) said Friday.

In a statement, the AFP-WestMincom said the encounter between the ASG and the operating forces of the Joint Task Force (JTF) Sulu occurred early morning Friday in Barangay Kagay, Indanan.

The bandits fled the scene after the firefight that lasted for five minutes.

JTF Sulu commander Major General William Gonzales identified the slain ASG member as Arab Undo, one of the remaining followers of the slain ASG senior leader Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan.

Authorities recovered from the clash site one cal. 45 pistol, one backpack, a solar panel, personal belongings, and food items.

Meanwhile, the three soldiers who were wounded in the encounter were brought to Kuta Heneral Teodulfo Bautista Station Hospital for medical attention. They are now in stable condition.

“Pursuit and blockade are being conducted by the Joint Task Force Sulu to thwart the extrication of the local terrorists group,” Gonzales said.

“This is another one blow to the ASG and we hope we could be able to neutralize the remaining members of the terrorist group the soonest,” he added.

Military backs Anti-Terrorism Council’s resolutions on terrorist tag

Robie de Guzman   •   May 13, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Thursday expressed support for the decision of the Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC) to publish resolutions designating some individuals as terrorists.

“The AFP supports the Anti-Terrorism Council’s Resolution Nos. 16 and 17 which designate 10 local terrorist group individuals and 19 CPP-NPA members as terrorists,” AFP chief of staff General Cirilito Sobejana said in a statement.

“The military organization further conveys its full confidence to the ATC’s decision which was carried out based on verified and validated information,” he added.

The ATC published on Thursday Resolution No. 17, designating 19 alleged leaders of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People’s Army as terrorists.

The council also listed as terrorists in Resolution No. 16 ten members of different local terrorist groups such as the Abu Sayyaf Group, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, and the Daulah Islamiyah.

These individuals are accused of conspiring, planning, and preparing for the commission of terrorism, covered by Sections 6, 7, and 10 of the Anti-Terrorism Act.

With this development, the AFP said it will be able to further protect the public citizens from terrorist acts by closely working together with government law enforcement agencies and focusing resources to bring the mentioned personalities to justice.

“We are optimistic that the ATC’s resolution will continue to empower government, under the rule of law, to eradicate terrorism in our country, and maintain a peaceful and progressive nation for every Filipinos,” Sobejana said.

Under the Anti-Terrorism Law of 2020, the ATC has the authority to designate individuals, groups of individuals, organizations, or associations as terrorists without a court hearing.

This measure will allow the Anti-Money Laundering Council to freeze the assets of designated personalities or organizations.

Persons designated as terrorists have 15 days to file a request for delisting.

4 BIFF extremists killed in Maguindanao military ops

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 12, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Four members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) —Karialan faction were killed during a military operation in Datu Paglas, Maguindanao on Wednesday (May 12).

Brigadier General Roy Galido, commander of 601st Infantry Brigade, confirmed that they were in pursuit of the BIFF group—Karialan faction following a clash with military forces near the public market of the said town last Saturday, May 8.

The BIFF group tried to evade security forces during the intensified manhunt operations of military and police. Accordingly, the operating troops recovered 4 dead bodies belonging to the extremist group, one high powered firearm, and other war materials.

The clash came after the visit of President Rodrigo Duterte inside the headquarters of the 6th Infantry Division in Awang, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao on May 11.

Major General Juvymax Uy, Commander of the Joint Task Force Central and 6th Infantry Division, applauded the efforts of the operating troops against the BIFF.

“Your efforts is a manifestation of your commitment to serve the Filipino people,” Maj. Gen. Uy said. He further stressed that the JTF Central and 6ID will continue its intensified operation against the said groups to prevent them from hurting the civilian populace and destroying infrastructures,” he said. AAC

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