1,300 terrorists neutralized in Mindanao in 2017, says Wesmincom

Richard Falcatan

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1,300 terrorists neutralized in Mindanao in 2017, says Wesmincom
The Western Mindanao Command reports its 2017 performance as President Rodrigo Duterte asks Congress to extend martial law in Mindanao by a year

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – Government troops neutralized 1,300 terrorists in operations in Mindanao in 2017, the Armed Forces Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom) said.

Wesmincom reported its performance in the anti-terror drive during its year-end command conference on Tuesday, December 11, as President Rodrigo Duterte sought Congress approval to extend martial law in Mindanao for a year, or until December 2018.

The terrorists included in the Wesmincom tally include members of the Abu Sayyaf, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, the New People’s Army, and the Maute Group.

In a statement, Wesmincom spokesperson Captain Jo-Ann Petinglay said 40% of the neutralized terrorists were from the Abu Sayyaf.

On the military operations against the BIFF, Maute, and NPA in Central Mindanao and Zamboanga Peninsula resulted to the neutralization of 1,194 enemies, said Petinglay.

Wesmincom said 40% of the neutralized terrorists are members of the Abu Sayyaf.

Of the figure, 182 BIFF and 995 Maute members were neutralized in Central Mindanao. In operations against the NPA, 8 communists were killed, 9 captured, and 89 laid down their firearms, Petinglay said.

She added that on the government side, a total of 208 soldiers were killed in operations against terroists – 169 soldiers were killed in clashes with the Maute Group, 26 in encounters with the Abu Sayyaf, 7 in operations against the BIFF, and 6 in clashes with the NPA, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

Last week, President Rodrigo Duterte signed a proclamation tagging the CPP-NPA as a terrorist group, following the government’s termination of peace talks  with the National Democratic Front.

Petinglay said Abu Sayyaf kidnappings went down to just 12 incidents in 2017 from 23 in 2016.

There were 77 Abu Sayyaf-initiated attacks on civilians and government troops in 2017, down from 123 recorded in 2016.

Petinglay said 230 firearms of the Abu Sayyaf were either seized, recovered, or surrendered to authorities. – Rappler.com


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