AFP: 50 ASG bandits neutralized this year
Zamboanga City (25 May) -- With 24 encounters against the Abu Sayaff Group; with 18 of its terrorists killed, 16 wounded, one arrested, and 15 others captured from January to May 2010, the Armed Forces of the Philippines believes that it has succeeded in stopping the growth of the ASG and in immobilizing them, to a great extent, from spreading terror.
For the same period, operating troops have also seized at least 17 firearms from the bandits. About 60 other items such as grenades, batteries, wires, and other improvised explosive device paraphernalia were also recovered.
Lt Colonel Gamal S Hayudini PAF, Group Commander of the 4th Civil Relations Group, Civil Relations Service, AFP said that the military has effectively curtailed the terror campaign of the ASG through the strengthened military offensives and with the intensified civil military operations that greatly helped in separating mass based support.
By the end of 2009, the strength of the Abu Sayyaf Group is estimated at 390 ? and continuously diminishing ? from its peak of 1,200 in the year 2000.
Among the latest successful military operation occurred at Brgy Gihong, Sumisip, Basilan on May 15, 2010 where Scout Ranger troops raided an ASG lair which resulted to the capture of 15 and 1 terrorist dead. Among the captured is the group's leader Umar Ipong who has standing warrants of arrest for kidnapping, serious illegal detention, and atrocities in connection with the Lamitan siege in June 2001. The Lamitan incident was a day-long battle between government troops and Abu Sayyaf terrorists holed up in a hospital with them around twenty hostages, including Martin and Gracia Burnham.
The military operations against terrorism will continue and will not stop until peace will reign in the war-torn areas here in Mindanao particularly Basilan and Sulu.
The military appeals to all the stakeholders of the society most especially the general public to support the government's thrust against all lawless groups since peace and stability in Mindanao does not lie solely on the shoulders of AFP and the PNP, hence, "all of us should be concerned and let's work hand in hand to make peace happen," concludes Hayudini. (4CRG-CRSAFP/PIA9-BST) [top]