By JULMUNIR I. JANNARAL
CAMP NAVARRO, Calarian, Zamboanga City
A notorious Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) leader who was already wounded was captured by the operating troops of the military’s Joint Task Force Tawi-Tawi in Barangay Kalupag Island, Languyan, Tawi-Tawi last week.
“The troops of the Marine Battalion Landing Team-6 under Lt. Col. Venjie Pendon acted on a report regarding the presence of suspicious fully-armed men in Barangay Kalupag Island. Onboard PS 35 headed by Col. Nestor Narag, Jr., the Deputy Brigade Commander of the 2nd Marine Brigade, the troops proceeded to the area but upon their arrival, the terrorists opened fire,” said Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan, Jr., Commander of the Western Mindanao Command.
A firefight ensued which resulted in the severe wounding of Sulu-based ASG/kidnap-for-ransom group notorious leader Majan Sahidjuan, a.k.a. Apo Mike.
“He was abandoned by his two comrades who fled bringing along the remaining Indonesian kidnap victim with them,” said Lt. Col. Pendon.
A hot pursuit operation is currently being conducted to rescue the kidnap victims and apprehend his abductors.
“We executed prompt military action following the receipt of information. We are anticipating reports from the communities that is why we made sure that our assets are at high readiness. Moreover, the availability of the Philippine Navy surface assets like PS 35 and 3 MPACs was crucial,” said Brig. Gen. Arturo Rojas, commander of the JTF Tawi-Tawi.
“We attribute this success to the strengthened collaboration with our partner agencies including 1st SOU, PNP maritime. We also acknowledge the support of the local government units and cooperation of the peace-loving people of Tawi-Tawi,” Brig. Gen. Rojas added.
Meanwhile, Lt. Gen. Vinluan, Jr. urged the people to stay calm and trust in the authorities.
“Rest assured that we will sustain heightened alert and intensify our operations to expedite the rescue of the kidnap victims and the arrest of the ASG members,” said Lt. Gen. Vinluan, Jr. JIJ