Military seizes 2 Abu Sayyaf strongholds in Basilan | Inquirer News

Military seizes 2 Abu Sayyaf strongholds in Basilan

/ 04:51 PM August 16, 2016

Abu Sayyaf stronghold captured by Joint Task Force Basilan in intensive military offensives. Photo from  CPIO WESTMINCOM

Abu Sayyaf stronghold captured by Joint Task Force Basilan in intensive military offensives. Photo from CPIO WESTMINCOM

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines—The military on Tuesday said it had seized two strongholds of the Abu Sayyaf in Basilan after more than a month of military operations.

Col. Andrew Bacala, commander of the 4th Special Forces Battalion, said on Monday soldiers were finally able to set foot on Hill 355 in Barangay (village) Silangkum in Tipo-tipo town.


“The hill is the ASG’s (Abu Sayyaf Group) last stronghold after the terrorists went on the run from the relentless military operation that started last July. A total of 10 enemy bunkers, four tunnels, several foxholes and two improvised explosive devices (IEDs) were seized on Hill 355,” Bacala said.


READ: Army Special Forces seize Abu Sayyaf camp in Basilan

Last Sunday, soldiers were also able to simultaneously seize and take control of Abu Sayyaf strongholds in Barangay Baguindan Proper and Kawilan Hill, he said.

Bacala said the more than one month of military operation had led to the “liberation” of the people of Tipo-Tipo, Ungkaya Pukan and Albarka from the clutches of the Abu Sayyaf.

READ: Huling ASG stronghold sa Basilan, nakubkob ng militar

Earlier, President Rodrigo Duterte said he wanted the Abu Sayyaf destroyed, adding that it was pointless to talk peace to them because it was not clear whom they were fighting for or what ideology they have.

Joel Maturan, the former town mayor of Ungkaya Pukan—a town carved from Tipo-tipo—said “the Abu Sayyaf was finally flushed out of our towns.”


Gov. Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) said with the flushing out of the bandits, development could now start to take place in the former Abu Sayyaf strongholds.

“The provincial government of Basilan has plans to develop the place to make sure the armed men who terrorized our poor people will no longer return and occupy the place,” Hataman said.

He said  people in the affected areas “are now free and they can start to live normal lives.”

“There are interventions being done by local government, livelihood, training, education and security to make the affected communities strong against these lawless elements,” Hataman said when asked what local government units can do to further improve the lives of the locals. RAM/rga

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TAGS: Abu Sayyaf Group, Basilan, Military

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