SURRENDERED. Two Abu Sayyaf Group members surrender to Col. Domingo Gobway (center), commander of the Joint Task Force Basilan, at the headquarters of the 101st Infantry Brigade in Barangay Tabiawan, Isabela City, Basilan on Monday (Jan. 11, 2021), turning over two high-powered rifles. The two were followers of the late Isnilon Hapilon, the self-declared ’emir of the Islamic State in the Philippines.’ (Photo courtesy of Joint Task Force Basilan)
ZAMBOANGA CITY – Two followers of the slain self-declared “emir” of the Islamic State (IS) in the Philippines have surrendered to military authorities in Basilan province, officials said Tuesday.
Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan Jr., commander of the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom), identified them as Ahmad Ontong, 35, resident of Barangay Upper Manggas, Lantawan, Basilan, and Absirin Abul, 38, resident of Barangay Palahanan, Hadji Muhtamad, also in Basilan.
Vinluan said they surrendered to Col. Domingo Gobway, Joint Task Force Basilan commander, at the headquarters of the 101st Infantry Brigade in Barangay Tabiawan, Isabela City, the provincial capital, at about 9 a.m. on Monday.
“Based on our records, the two are members of the group under the late ASG (Abu Sayyaf Group) leader Isnilon Hapilon,” he said, referring to one of the Basilan-based ASG leaders who declared himself as “emir of all Islamic State forces in the Philippines.”
Hapilon was killed along with Omar Maute, one of the Dawlah Islamiya leaders, in a gun battle with government troops during the Marawi siege in 2017.
Vinluan said during the initial debriefing, the two admitted they were involved in the numerous attacks launched by the ASG in Basilan, particularly in the towns of Sumisip and Maluso.
Gobway said the two did not participate in the Marawi siege, stayed in Basilan, and hid when Hapilon was neutralized.
“Tired of hiding, they decided to surrender and return to the mainstream society,” he said.
Gobway said the two yielded one caliber .30 M1 Garand rifle with one clip and eight rounds of ammunition, and one M-14 rifle with one magazine and 17 rounds of ammunition.
Vinluan called on those who remain in hiding to return to the fold of the law.
“Now is the time for you to come out and avail of our reintegration programs for you and your families,” he said. (PNA)