Government forces closed in on wanted Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) Commander Mundi Sawadjaan after troopers of the 5th Scout Ranger Battalion discovered and took over an ASG harbor site in Indanan, Sulu on Tuesday morning.
In a report by Col. Antonio Bautista Jr., commander of the 1101st Brigade which has operational jurisdiction over the town, the Rangers led by Lt. Col. Herbert Dilag discovered the site where Sawadjaan and around 40 members of the terror group have temporary set up camp for the past several days.
Sawadjaan leads the ASG faction affiliated with the Daesh terror group.
Found in the area were the bandits’ personal belongings and leftover food.
“We are employing the full force of JTF (Joint Task Force) Sulu’s military assets to track down the group of Mundi Sawadjaan. We are winning our peace and development campaign in the island of Sulu. In due time, the dwindling number of the terror group will surely be decimated with the active cooperation and support of the governor and municipal mayors,” BGen. William Gonzales, 11th Infantry Division chief, said.
It was last 20 September 2020 when elements of the Philippine Army’s 45th Infantry Battalion based in Patikul town clashed with Sawadjaan’s group with several of the notorious terrorist and bomb expert’s subordinates neutralized.
They were the same group behind the bloody twin blasts in Jolo, Sulu last 24 August 2020.
Sawadjaan was also responsible for the deadly twin bombings that rocked the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Cathedral, also in Jolo, in January 2019 that killed 20 people and wounded more than a hundred others.
From 25 August 2020 to present, three ASG members have died in the military’s follow up operations. Samir Sanni and two others were killed in a clash with the Scout Rangers in Patikul last 29 August 2020.
Several days later, nine bandits voluntarily surrendered to JTF Sulu for fear of being killed in an armed encounter with the security forces hot on the trail of the Islamic State-inspired terrorists.
Hot pursuit operations are still being conducted by military, utilizing all of the task force’s land, sea and air assets.
Civil-military cooperation is also being undertaken led by Sulu Governor Abdusakur Tan along with the 19 municipal mayors of the province.