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15 Abu Sayyaf men yield in Sulu

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Fifteen Abu Sayyaf members, including two sub-commanders, surrendered to government forces in Sulu early Friday, the military reported.

Among the surrenderers were sub-commander Alvin Yusop alias “Arab Puti,” a follower of Abu Sayyaf top leader Radullan Sahiron; and sub-commander Barahim Nurjahar, a follower of the late senior leader Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan, the Armed Forces’ Joint Task Force-Sulu said.

Also among them were Muarip Adja alias “Arip” and Hatimil Adja alias “Timmer,” both sons of sub-commander Apoh Mike who is implicated in kidnappings.

The 15 surrendered to troops under the 1101st and 1102nd Brigades, and handed over 14 firearms when presented to Maj. Gen. William Gonzales, commander of the Army’s 11th Infantry Division and JTF-Sulu.

Gonzales said Yusop served as “ringleader” of the Abu Sayyaf’s urban criminal group in 2017 and has since been Sahiron’s “most trusted” man.

According to the 1102nd Brigade, Yusop and Hatimil Adja yielded to soldiers in Brgy. Tagbak, Indanan, Friday morning.

The duo handed over two M16 rifles and were first presented to 1102nd Brigade commander Brig. Gen. Ignatius Patrimonio in Camp Bud Datu.

Patrimonio, in a statement provided by JTF-Sulu, said Yusop had been involved in kidnappings but was convinced by his family to yield after his mother suffered a stroke.

At the ceremony for the surrenderers, Yusop claimed that he also wanted to change for the better, for the sake of his four children.

Col. Antonio Bautista, 1101st Brigade commander, said Nurjahar was involved in the kidnapping of a local mayor’s sister.

He said troops have long been hunting for Nurjahar until their continued presence drove him out of his stronghold, left him out of resources, and finally prompted him to surrender to government forces thru the Moro National Liberation Front.

“He (Nurjahar) will face proper legal proceedings and is now willing to cooperate with government forces,” Bautista added.

According to the JTF-Sulu, Muarip Adja surrendered to the 41st Infantry Battalion in Maimbung.

His brother Hatimil, who yielded in Indanan, is expected to shed further light on the reported death of Sawadjaan months ago as he was said to be with the notorious Abu Sayyaf senior leader at the time.

Gonzales told the surrenderers that the military is working with the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process and the Sulu provincial government to help them start a new life.

“Tell the others (Abu Sayyaf members), tell Apoh Mike, that they are welcome as long as they are sincere, willing to face the rule of law, and ready to cooperate in our fight for peace,” he added.

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