By Hader Glang
Seven more Daesh-linked militants surrendered to government forces in the southern Philippines this week, bringing the number of terrorists who have given themselves up as the military pressed its offensive to 47, the military said Wednesday.
The Abu Sayyaf militants in Sulu also laid down their high-powered weapons, said Capt. Jo-Ann Petinglay, spokeswoman of the military's Western Mindanao Command.
This followed 40 terrorist group members in the provinces of Basilan, Tawi-Tawi, and Sulu also yielding over the past week, according to Petinglay.
"They're followers of slain Alhabsy Misaya, an Abu Sayyaf extremist commander and notorious kidnapper who sailed across the sea border into Malaysia to snatch tourists and sailors for ransom."
Petinglay said the seven Abu Sayyaf militants turned themselves into Marines in the town of Luuk, bringing with them long and short firearms including Armalite rifles, Garands, and .45 caliber pistols.
"They surrendered out of fear the government will suddenly be at their doorstep. They said they no longer feel safe after Misaya was killed and some of their fellow Abus surrendered," she added.
The militants were made to undergo a ceremony where they pledged to the Quran that they would no longer involve themselves in any act of terrorism or lawlessness.
'Nothing in return'
WestMinCom chief Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr. said the militants yielded to the troops without getting anything in return.
"Except that they just want to live...They have been starving and fearful of fighting government forces," Galvez said. "We will be coordinating with other government agencies for possible reintegration of those Abu Sayyaf surrenderees into society.”
The recent all-out offensives launched by the WestMinCom's Joint Task Forces compelled 23 more members of Abu Sayyaf to lay down their arms and yield to the military in Basilan.
As the ground troops continue to pound down and constrict the movements of the terrorist group in Basilan, 19 Abu Sayyaf members surrendered to the Joint Task Force Basilan.
Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Nur Hassan Lahaman a.k.a Hassan, and sub-leader Mudz-Ar Angkun a.k.a Mapad Ladjaman with 13 other followers surrendered to the troops of the 64th Infantry Battalion in Barangay Tumahubong, in the town of Sumisip.
The Mapad group operates in the areas of Sumisip while the group of Hassan operates in the province’s Tuburan municipality.
Mayor "Boy" Hataman expressed his gratitude to the continuing support he has received from the troops, saying, "It is my goal to make Sumisip a peaceful place to live in, and this surrender is an indicator that my dream and the dream of the people in Sumisip will soon be achieved."
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