Fin­ish off Abus this year, sol­diers told

Gov­ern­ment forces in Sulu have been or­dered to wipe out the Abu Sayyaf by the end of the year.

The Philippine Star - - NATION - By JAIME LAUDE

“The chief of staff has given us until De­cem­ber if pos­si­ble to end the Abu Sayyaf’s kid­nap­ping men­ace,” Brig. Gen. Ciril­ito Sobe­jana, Joint Task Force Sulu com­man­der, said yes­ter­day, re­fer­ring to the di­rec­tive of Armed Forces of the Philip­pines chief Gen. Carlito Galvez.

Galvez presided over a com­mand con­fer­ence at the Western Min­danao Com­mand head­quar­ters in Zam­boanga City on Wed­nes­day.

Sobe­jana said Galvez or­dered sus­tained mil­i­tary op­er­a­tions to res­cue the re­main­ing hostages and neu­tral­ize the kid­nap­pers.

Sobe­jana said the De­cem­ber timetable is “highly at­tain­able,” cit­ing ground mo­bil­ity, air and sea as­sets at their dis­posal.

“We are look­ing at a twoyear win­dow to com­pletely wipe out the ban­dits but we want to fast-track our efforts to end the kid­nap­pings by De­cem­ber,” he said.

Sobe­jana said an ad­di­tional bat­tal­ion from Marawi would be de­ployed in Sulu to serve as re­in­force­ment.

“The ad­vance party is here, but the main body will be com­ing later,” Sobe­jana said.

Ten Army bat­tal­ions had been ear­lier de­ployed in the Sulu to run af­ter Abu Sayyaf ban­dits.

Sev­eral mil­i­tary units have also been placed un­der the con­trol of the Joint Task Force Sulu to help in the op­er­a­tions.

The Abu Sayyaf is still hold­ing around a dozen foreign and lo­cal hostages.

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