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Additional battalion of marines to be deployed to Sulu vs Sayyaf.

By Aaron Recuenco

The military will deploy another battalion of Marine commandos in Sulu in an attempt to intensify the tactical offensives and eventually end the Abu Sayyaf Group which has been operating in the province for more than two decades now.

Capt. Felix Serapio, Jr., spokesman of the Philippine Marine Corps, said that they are just waiting for the final say of the Philippine Navy leadership as to when the deployment of the Marine Battalion Landing Team 8 (MBLT8) to Sulu will be done.

The Marines are under the Philippine Navy.

"The deployment of the Marines there is because of the guidance of the President to focus the operation in Sulu in order to really finish off the Abu Sayyaf," said Serapio.

The MBLT8 was assigned in Cagayan before they were subjected to more than nine months of retraining program.

And since the retraining program is now nearing to end, Serapio said the military leadership has decided to put their newly-acquired skills to test via the Sulu deployment.

Hundreds of additional soldiers have already been deployed to Sulu in the past two years as President Duterte wanted to wipe out the Abu Sayyaf Group.

Founded in the early 1990s, the ASG was able to recruit a lot of fighters from the neighboring provinces of Tawi-Tawi and Basilan. The group gained notoriety in the mid-90s to 2000s after it engaged in high-profile kidnapping of tourists abducted in areas as far as Malaysia.

The group was also notorious for beheading enemies and captives whose relatives would not pay ransom and later, the ASG also engaged in bomb attacks.

The ASG force has started to wane after the death of its prominent leaders in various military operations over the years. Only the provinces of Basilan and Sulu still have the ASG problems.

CAPTION(S):

(AFP PHOTO / TED ALJIBE / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

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Title Annotation:Mindanao
Publication:Manila Bulletin
Geographic Code:9PHIL
Date:Jun 11, 2019
Words:310
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