Abu Sayyaf terrorists in Sulu are still on the run as the military offensive continues, giving no quarters to the terrorists to re-group or pursue any plan to reinforce their beleaguered comrades in Marawi City.
Brig. Gen. Cirilito E. Sobejana, commanding general of Joint Task Force Sulu, made the disclosure during a phone interview with this writer Wednesday.
“We are sustaining our offensive against the Abu Sayyaf and will pursue them wherever they are. In fact, they are on the run,” Sobejana said.
Since assuming his new post as Joint Task Force Sulu commander, Sobejana said a number of Abu Sayyaf bandits have been killed and wounded in gun battles since their relentless offensive began some two months ago.
“If the Abu Sayyaf would try to flee the island of Sulu to go to Marawi to reinforce their beleaguered Maute terrorist comrades, they will be cut down by our navy,” Sobejana added.
“We will keep the pressure against the fleeing Abu Sayyaf terrorists,” he said.
As government troops are pursuing the Abu Sayyaf in Sulu, fighting in Marawi between government forces and Maute bandits entered its 16th day Wednesday.
The Philippine Air Force (PAF) has been utilizing various air assets such as the newly acquired F-50 jet fighters, OV-10 aircraft and attack helicopter in conducting surgical airstrikes to root out the bandits from their hideouts in Marawi.
The military believes Mautes are still hiding in several buildings in the city, and likely using civilians as human shields.
Government forces have shifted to house-to-house fighting and have to be extra careful so as not to hit civilians.
Since fighting began on May 23, some 134 terrorists have been killed.
On the part of the military, 39 soldiers were killed in action while 20 civilians have also been killed, mostly executed by the terrorists.