Abus leaving their stronghold in Sulu » Manila Bulletin News

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By Nonoy Lacson 

Members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and their leaders  have  started to flee Sinuman Complex in Patikul, Sulu, the main stronghold of the ASG in the province,  after a more intense  military offensive and pressure  pounced  against them by the Joint Task Force Sulu (JTF-Sulu).

Brig. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, Commander of the Joint Task Force Sulu, said yesterday the military  forces in the province  gained  grounds after  receiving reports that members of the ASG and their leaders had started to leave Sinuman Complex in Patikul, Sulu,  the ASG stronghold in the  province.

Sobejana said there are  about  400 of them per experts’ estimate, including their supporters  in the entire Sulu province.  Half of them or about 200, he said,  are armed and  are fighting the government.

Gen.Sobejana said lately they had  received information that  the ASG fighters and some of their leaders were  leaving the complex to avoid the military operations in the area, he said.

“We received information and we monitored that they are moving out of the complex,” Sobejana said.

Sulu Map (Credits: Google Map | Manila Bulletin)

He said the military in the province  will continue to conduct military  operations against the ASG in the complex  to flush out the ASG in the area and free the kidnapped victims they are still holding.

He admitted that the ASG  strongholds in the  province remained at the Sinuman complex in Patikul, Sulu.  That is also the area of their  concentration of the military focus operations, he said.

Adding being away from their stronghold,  he said that they are losing popular support from the masses, running short of logistics and finances while  some of their people  are already weary and want  to surrender to the government.

The Joint Task Force Sulu commander said they have  already accounted for more than 20who have surrendered   and they  are  expecting more to come and  to surrender in the coming days.

According to Sobejana, they have not set any timetable when to complete the  military operations against the  ASG in the province, though President  Rodrigo Duterte wanted it to be completed in  six months’ time

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