Troops aim to destroy Abu kidnap hideouts PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 23 July 2015 11:21

Troops in Sulu have mounted surgical strike against the Abu Sayyaf militants , aiming to flush them  out of the jungles and deny them of havens where they keep hostages, officials said.

This developed store cahier Ledegie Tomarong, 18, managed to escape during a military operation in the jungle of Indanan town.

The military said at least 12 kidnap victims, including foreign nationals and high profile local personality, are still being kept in captivity by the Abu Sayyaf in Sulu.

Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Gov. Mujiv Hataman said most of the captives were not taken from Sulu.

“The problem here not all of the victims were taken from Sulu but outside or in the nearby provinces and brought to Sulu,” Hataman said.

He said based on their recent regional peace and order council with the military and police commanders, 70 percent of the kidnapping cases did not happen in Sulu.

Hataman said Brig. Gen. Alan Arrojado, commander of the Joint Task Group Sulu (JTGS), intensified the surgical military offensive “purposely to weaken the foothold of the Abu Sayyaf group because it is there that they are keeping their captives.”

“Because if their foothold will be weakened they could no longer hide their captives there, like what happened in Basilan, they are not keeping their hostages there because they have weak foothold there,” Hataman said.

He said the Abu Sayyaf group is no longer using Basilan for safekeeping of captives since the group lost its control in the area due to the continuous military operation and coordination of the local government leaders.

Hataman also called for a strong coordination with the security forces of other areas to avoid lapses in the security.

“This is also a challenge to the local government, specially the municipal mayors and the barangay officials to actively engage in the surgical operation against the Abu Sayyaf,” Hataman said.

The militant group seized the foreign bird watcher—Dutchman-- along with Swiss national in February of 2012 in Tawi-Tawi while Mayor Gemma Adana of Naga, Zamboanga Sibugay in April this year.

“Once weakened, they have no more place where the bring hostages. They cannot and are not bringing hostage to Basilan because they have weak foothold (in the area),” Hataman said.

He said they have also tapped the town and barangay officials to assist the task group’s surgical operations to weaken the ASG base in Sulu.

He foresees that the kidnappings will stop once the ASG is denied of foothold in the province of Sulu.