Military sets terms for senior Abu Sayyaf leader’s surrender
One of the senior leaders of the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf has sent surrender feelers to the military, but the commander of a task force in Sulu said he must bring his followers with him if he gives up.
Brig. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, Joint Task Force Sulu Commander, said ASG leader Radullan Sahiron sent an emissary who informed them about Sahiron plan to surrender.
“Radullan is a respected leader, a traditional leader. Now we want to tell him that if he really, if he is serious of giving up, he should bring his followers. Hopefully his plan would materialize and this will mean the ASG problem is ended,” said Sobejana.
“We believe that if Radullan surface, others will follow,” added Sobejana.
Sobejana emphasized that Sahiron’s followers are about 60 to 70 percent of the total strength of the Abu Sayyaf.
“There is still 30 percent ( of the Abu Sayyaf) that will be left. That’s okay. For a while there will be a leadership vacuum. There will be a power struggle among the sub-leaders on who will lead them,” Sobjena said.
Reports that Sahiron wanted to surrender to the military first surfaced a week ago.
Sobejana did not identify Sahiron’s emissary but described him as a “traditional leader, well-respected and a close friend.”
Sobejana said based on the information they have, Sahiron said he is “weak and tired”.
“He is accordingly, as reported to us, he is weak, tired and weary because they are moving from one place to another as we don’t stop. We never got tired. We rotate our forces like a basketball. If we get tired, we replace that is why the operations are continuous,” he said.
The Abu Sayyaf are still holding around 27 hostages, including several foreigners. Recently, a Filipino was beheaded by the Abu Sayyaf. Robina Asido/DMS