Sobejana lauds 11ID achievements in anti-terror campaign

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ZAMBOANGA CITY – Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, chief-of-staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), has commended the Army’s 11th Infantry Division (11ID) for the unit’s recent achievements in the anti-terrorism campaign in the province of Sulu.

Sobejana issued the commendation during his two-day visit from Monday until Tuesday to Camp Gen. Teodulfo Bautista that houses the headquarters of the 11ID and Joint Task Force (JTF)-Sulu in Barangay Busbus, Jolo, Sulu.

Citing the death of a foreign terrorist and two Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) members on April 16, Sobejana averred that the successes of the 11ID and JTF-Sulu, both led by Maj. Gen. William Gonzales, demonstrate that the government is relentless in its mission to ultimately put an end to terrorism, especially in Sulu.

“We should be very thankful that amid our intense operations, we have accomplished a lot without incurring any casualties from our side. My congratulations to the team of JTF-Sulu. I also had an opportunity to lead the JTF-Sulu in 2017 and I am very proud to see that it has evolved into one of the most admirable and dependable units. With regards our mandate, I believe we are on track in neutralizing the key personalities of the ASG,” Sobejana said.

Sobejana also visited the headquarters of the 1101st Infantry Brigade and 1102nd Infantry Brigade in the towns of Talipao and Indanan, respectively, where he discussed how to refine and enhance the Army’s strategies and capabilities to sustain the momentum gained by the ground units.

The two infantry brigades are among the operating units of the 11ID and JTF-Sulu.

Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan Jr., Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) chief, and Gonzales presented to Sobejana some of the Abu Sayyaf surrenderers in a ceremony promoting local government programs that aim to enjoin rebels to yield and return to a more peaceful and productive life.

Gonzales highlighted during the activity the continuous decline on the Abu Sayyaf’s manpower, which has negatively and greatly affected the group’s resource generation activities.

“Our series of operations against these terrorists have constricted their operating spaces, limited their movement, and disabled their ability to boost their ranks and execute their planned atrocities,” Gonzales added.

He also attributed the government’s gained momentum against the ASG to the concerted efforts of the other members of the Provincial and Municipal Task Forces in Ending Local Armed Conflict.

Also significant was the arrest of nine ASG supporters and potential suicide bombers in February, this year. Since January, the 11ID has neutralized seven Abu Sayyaf bandits, facilitated 60 surrenders, and recovered 56 firearms. – Nikolai Gonzalo

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