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127 Sayyaf men slain, 90 held in West Mindanao

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines — A total of 127 Abu Sayyaf bandits were killed while 90 others were arrested this year, a military official said yesterday.

In his annual report, Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr. of the Western Mindanao Command said 136 Abu Sayyaf bandits – 72 in Basilan, 43 in Sulu and 21 in Tawi-Tawi – also surrendered.

Galvez said 230 firearms were recovered from the bandits.

He said the number of Abu Sayyaf members who were neutralized is almost five times higher compared to last year, which was only 75. 

With intensified military operations, Galvez said kidnappings were down to only 12 compared to 23 in 2016.

The bandits are still holding a Dutch man, five Indonesians and three Filipinos. 

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Galvez said personnel of the Joint Task Force Sulu led by Brig. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, Joint Task Force Basilan under Brig. Gen. Juvymax Uy and Joint Task Force Tawi-Tawi led by Brig. Gen. Custodio Parcon are leading the operations to finish off the Abu Sayyaf and recover its remaining hostages.

Sobejana said they are running after 400 bandits led by Radulan Sahiron in Sulu.

In Basilan, Uy said they are pursuing 102 bandits led by Furuji Indama.

The military had set a deadline of until June this year to defeat the Abu Sayyaf.

The campaign was disrupted after Maute militants and their Abu Sayyaf cohorts attacked and occupied Marawi on May 23.

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