- The last stronghold of Abu Sayyaf on Hill 355 in Tipo-Tipo, Basilan was seized by the military on Monday
- Last Sunday, two strategic strongholds of the bandits were also seized on Hill 440 and in Barangay Baguindan
- The relentless military operations were in compliance with President Duterte’s order to destroy the Abu Sayyaf Group
The last known stronghold of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in Basilan was seized by the military when the bandits went on the run after the government security forces launched a series of operations against them since July.
Col. Andrew Bacala, commander of the Philippine Army’s 4th Special Forces Battalion, said the Abu Sayyaf suffered some casualties when the military attacked the bandits’ bastion of power on Hill 355 in Barangay (village) Silangkum in Tipo-Tipo town on Monday, August 15.
“The hill is the ASG’s last stronghold after the terrorists went on the run from the relentless military operation that started last July. A total of 10 enemy bunkers, four tunnels, several foxholes and two improvised explosive devices (IDEs) were seized on Hill 355,” CNN Philippines quoted Col. Bacala as saying.
Last Sunday, August 14, combined troops from the Special Forces, Scout Ranger and Light Armor Cavalry troops seized two strategic strongholds of the bandits in Barangay Baguindan and at Hill 440. It was fortified with seven foxholes, 12 bunkers capable of housing 80 persons. Three unexploded ordinances and several IEDs were recovered from the bandits’ lairs.
The successful military operations led to the “liberation” of the residents of Tipo-Tipo, Ungkaya Pukan and Albarka from the clutches of the Abu Sayyaf.
Lt. Ron Villarosa, Public Affairs Officer of the 4th Special Forces Battalion, said residents of the “liberated” villages, some of whom were relatives of ASG members, cooperated with the military because they have grown tired of the bandits seeking refuge in their areas.
“We’ve seen an increase, a very dramatic increase in their cooperation with the government troops,” Villarosa said.
Joel Maturan, the former town mayor of Ungkaya Pukan, said “the Abu Sayyaf was finally flushed out of our towns.”
The relentless military operations were in compliance with President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to destroy the Abu Sayyaf Group.