Two members of the Islamic State-linked Abu Sayyaf surrendered on Friday to security forces in Patikul town, Sulu. 

With this recent development, the military is looking forward for more Abu Sayyaf members to surrender. 

Ten Abu Sayyaf members have surrendered to state troops for fear that the soldiers will catch them in the middle of an offensive operation. 

“For this week, a total of 10 ASG members yielded to the troops of Joint Task Force Sulu,” said Brig. Gen. William Gonzales, JTFS 11th division commander.

The two Abu Sayyaf members turned themselves over to Lt. Col. Rafael Caido, commanding officer of the 6th Special Forces Battalion in Patikul town about 10 a.m. Friday.

Both of them were armed with one M16 rifle and an M79 grenade launcher. The military had declined to reveal the names of the surrenderees for their security. 

“Sensing the pressure of the military’s ground, air and marine operations, the local terrorist group members here in Sulu are rumbling and finding ways to return to the fold of the law,” Caido said in a report to the Joint Task Force Sulu (JTFS).

The two shared during the tactical debriefing that they were inspired by their former comrades who surrendered ahead to leave the group and take advantage of the Task Force ELAC (Ending Lawless Armed Conflict), according to Brig. Gen. Ignatious Patrimonio, commanding officer of 1102nd Brigade.

Gonzales added that with the surrender, the military expects the weakening of Idang Susukan’s group and further weakening of possible support for Abu Sayyaf bomber Mundi Sawadjaan.

Susukan, an Abu Sayyaf subleader wanted for kidnapping and murder of captives, was seized in Davao City last August. Sawadjaan, on the other hand, was tagged as the mastermind in the August 24 twin suicide bombings in Jolo. 

Gonzales has sworn to the public that combat operations will be ruthless “until we have cornered and neutralized the groups of Sawadjaan and (Raulan).”

He also said the military will actively support the initiatives of the local government of Sulu civil task forces to accommodate the Abu Sayyaf members who voluntarily surrendered in the localized social integration program. RJ Espartinez