SUMISIP , Philippines, Sept. 23 (UPI) — Twenty members of the Abu Sayyaf militant group surrendered to the Philippines, the military announced.
An assortment of firearms, including two homemade shotguns, were confiscated as the Islamist militants, aligned with the Islamic State and involved in bombings, kidnappings and attacks since 1991, surrendered Thursday in Sumisip on the island province of Basilan.
“This is the result of the relentless operation we are conducting where they suffered lots of casualties,” said Col. Thomas Donato Jr. of the Philippine army’s 104th Brigade. “We are very open for surrenderees. We want to end this war in peace and pave the way for development in Basilan.”
The Philippine military overran several Abu Sayyaf strongholds in the southern Philippines in recent weeks, and local authorities believe other Abu Sayyaf members are ready to surrender, CNN reported Friday.
“It’s time to end this terrorist problem in our country. We want to make Basilan a peaceful place to live so that development will prosper. We are closely working with the [military] to decimate all these terrorist groups,” Sumisip Mayor Gulam Boy Hattaman said.