Ano says Abu Sayyaf’s “will to fight” has been broken
After recent gains of the Philippine military against the Abu Sayyaf, the Armed Forces of the Philippines said they have been able to “break their will to fight.”
“ We are seeing, for the first time, they are surrendering en masse. This means that we have broken their will to fight,” said General Eduardo Ano, AFP chief of staff in an ambush interview at the end of the Balikatan exercises on Friday at Camp Aguinaldo.
The military said at least 80 Abu Sayyaf members have been killed in sustained attacks since January. Fifty have surrendered and 18 arrested.
However, the Abu Sayyaf are still holding 27 hostages.
The military set a June deadline to end the threat of the Abu Sayyaf but Ano said their forces have accomplished a “strategic victory.”
“The timeline that was given to me does not mean that the Abu Sayyaf will be reduced to zero. This means that we must have achieved strategic victory,” Ano explained.
Last Wednesday, Lt. General Carlito Galvez, commander of the Western Mindanao Command, said his “standing order” is to “flush out the Abu Sayyaf from their comfort zones and bring them to places where they are vulneranble.”
“Whatever the Abu Sayyaf will do, they have lost and with all the positive developments and successful decisive encounters, the numbers of the Abu Sayyaf have been greatly reduced, including their leaders and their capability to conduct terror or atrocities,” said Ano. DMS