A photo released by the Western Mindanao Command to the regional newspaper Mindanao Examiner shows recovered belongings of Abu Sayyaf rebels in Sulu’s Luuk town.
ZAMBOANGA CITY – Government soldiers arrested 2 persons who were allegedly caught with hand grenades following a firefight with Abu Sayyaf rebels in the southern Philippine province of Sulu, officials said on Friday.
Officials said troops arrested the two men who were hiding in the village of Kan Bulak in Luuk town where soldiers clashed Thursday with the group of Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Alhabsy Misaya.
“Two individuals were also apprehended during the operations that were found hiding in the area while the soldiers were scouring. Both were turned-over to the police for filing of appropriate charges after hand grenades were found in their possession,” said Captain Jo-ann Petinglay, a spokeswoman for the Western Mindanao Command.
It was unknown whether the men were members of the Abu Sayyaf or why they did not toss the grenade to the soldiers in the area and escape to evade arrest.
She said troops also recovered two automatic rifles and ammunition, including camouflage uniforms and clothes left behind by the Abu Sayyaf in the village. “The recoveries (of the weapons) only prove the presence of the bandits in the area and are indicative that they are having difficulty in evading the pursuing forces,” Petinglay said.
Major General Carlito Galvez, chief of the Western Mindanao Command, also praised civilians for passing information to the authorities on the presence of Abu Sayyaf rebels in their community.
“The operational success is a result of the growing concern of civilians and residents who are now reporting whereabouts of the ASG members. It only manifests that majority, if not all the people in Sulu are joining the fight against the common enemy,” he said.
The Abu Sayyaf is still holding over two dozen Asian sailors kidnapped off Sabah last year. (Mindanao Examiner)