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2 more Abu Sayyaf surrender in Basilan

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines — Two more members of the Abu Sayyaf surrendered to the government Sunday in a remote village of Basilan after learning how their former comrades are being reintegrated into society, authorities said Monday.

Superintendent Rufino Inot, Basilan police director, said Abu Sayyaf members Jamad Habil Habing, 22, and his younger brother Jem, 20, also surrendered their weapon, including an M16 rifle with an M203 grenade launcher, four magazines loaded with ammunition, four rounds of M203 ammunition and a bandolier.

Inot said the Habing siblings, who were followers of notorious Abu Sayyaf leader Furuji Indama, surrendered to the Basilan police Sunday at Barangay Baguindan, Tipo-Tipo town.

The police said the two Abu Sayyaf members told them they no longer believe their leaders’ warnings that the authorities would kill them if they surrender.

The two surrenderees also reportedly told police that they had heard about how the lives of other Abu Sayyaf who surrendered earlier had already improved.

Habing said other Abu Sayyaf are considering surrendering because they are tired from hiding and starving in the mountains.

The surrender of the Habings brings to 180 the number of Abu Sayyaf group members — including Nurhassan Jamiri, a senior leader — who have surrendered to the government.

Police and military estimated about less than 40 Abu Sayyaf members are still hiding with Indama in the Sampinit, a mountain complex in the center of Basilan Island.

Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Regional Governor Mujiv Hataman said positive developments continue for Abu Sayyaf members who surrendered ahead.

“Some of those are just trying to find the timing to escape from the tyranny of their leaders, because they see that the improvements in the lives of those who surrendered ahead of them,” he said.

He said the Basilan provincial government and security forces are helping implement assistance and livelihood training, as well as community integration, for the surrenderees.

“These efforts really enticed more Abu Sayyaf members to stream down into the community,” Hataman said.

He said the efforts are part of the Program Against Violent Extremism to assist those who were misled into terrorism or who were forced to join the Abu Sayyaf group.

Source : philstar