Teams of the Community Support Program facilitated the surrender of eight members of the Abu Sayyaf Group and their 16 high-powered firearms to the Joint Task Force Basilan on December 15.
Led by the 18th Infantry Battalion, the CSP teams presented Abu Sayyaf members Muamar Ahlam, Salli Aliman Kullok, Latip Listarul Laiti, Abdul Tungkeling Anjilon, Astalun Salamun, Bhen Salajar Asani, Mujahid Sapao Tamboh, and Unsulludin Listarul Salasamin to Colonel Fernando Reyeg, the Joint Task Force Basilan commander, in Barangay Bohe-Pahuh, Ungkaya Pukan, Basilan.
The group of Ahlam also yielded 14 Garand rifles, an M16 rifle, and a Carbine to Colonel Reyeg.
“The surrender came amid the ongoing thrust of the JTF Basilan troops to rally support for the anti-terrorism campaign by engaging the community and the stakeholders in Basilan,” said Colonel Reyeg.
Since the CSP has been conducted in the area, Barangays Kamamburingan, Bohe Pahuh, Tongbato, Sungkayot in Ungkaya Pukan; Barangay Magcawa of Al-Barka; and Barangays Languyan and Langgung of Hadji Muhammad Ajul are now actively involved in the government’s anti-terrorism program, added Colonel Reyeg.
Ahlam’s group said barangay officials and sector leaders convinced the Abu Sayyaf members to return to the folds of the law and to start a peaceful life with their loved ones.
The group surrendered through the assistance of barangay chairpersons, including Hasima Asani of Cambodia, Muksin Istajal of Bohe Pahuh, Muhammad Abdulcadir of Tongbato, Abudhar of Sungkayot District, Vilma Magcawa Temple, Paisal Wahid of Langgung, and Nasser Hassan of Langgung.
The 18IB continues to work with the ARMM to provide social and basic services to former Abu Sayyaf members under the Program against Violent Extremism.
“We made headway in eliminating the various threats by encouraging militants, including the Abu Sayyaf, to leave the battleground and to join our internal security campaign with the help of the local government units and the Mindanaoans. While we relentlessly pursue terrorists in the joint area of operations, we are inclined to focus on our community support programs to encourage more participation from the community,” said Lieutenant General Arnel Dela Vega, the commander of the Western Mindanao Command.