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More troops deployed to fight Abu Sayyaf
By Manolo B. Jara December 22, 2018
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MANILA: A newly-created  unit of the Armed Forces of the Philippines has been deployed to go after the Daesh-inspired Abu Sayyaf terrorists on the island province of Sulu in Mindanao, according to the country’s  military chief.

General Benjamin Madrigal said the Army’s  11th Infantry “Alakdan” Division would have its own civic-military and field battalions to deal with the Abu Sayyaf which gained notoriety through a spate of kidnap=for-ransom cases that have often been marred by the beheading of their  foreign and Filipino hostages.

But aside from the Abu Sayyaf, the new unit, to be headed by Brigadier General Divino Roy Pabayo, was also ordered to address other major concerns  especially rising  criminal activities in Mindanao, Madrigal said.

Meanhile, Rear Admiral Rene Medina, the head of the Naval Forces in Mindanao, reported the rescue of the wife of an Abu Sayyaf member and her two children following a recent clash on an island off the town of Patikul, Sulu.

Medina said Marines and Navy men rescued the wife and her two children aged 7 and 2, after hiding for three days in a mangrove forest following a clash last week between government forces and the terrorists.

Heavy fighting forced the housewife and her two children to leave their home and avoid being caught in the crossfire that resulted in the death of seven terrorists and and a Marine, the military said.

The military blamed the Abu Sayyaf, meaning “bearer of the sword,” and the Maute Group that both pledged allegiance to the Daesh extremists in the Middle East for laying siege on Marawi City on May 23, 2017.

The siege prompted President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte to cut short his official visit to Russia and declare martial law over the whole of troubled Mindanao.

In a joint session, Congress  has since extended the declaration thrice as requested by Duterte, the latest of which was to take effect from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31 this year.

According to the military, Daesh leaders ordered the Abu Sayyaf and the Maute Group to capture Marawi, the capital city of Lanao del Sur, and convert it into a caliphate to be used for their expansion plans in Southeast Asia.

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