Three suspected Abu Sayyaf bandits including a minor, were nabbed by government troops who are conducting continuous law enforcement operations in the hinterlands of Basilan early morning today (Nov 15), a military report said.
The troops of the 4th Scout Ranger Battalion led by LtCol Armand Arevalo were scouring the forested area in Tongsengal village in Sumisip town when they spotted the bandits in their makeshift tents at around 6:00am.
"The Scout Rangers were able to crawl the bandits' position without being detected. They did not put up a fight upon seeing that they were completely surrounded by the soldiers," said Major Harold M Cabunoc, citing sources from the Scout Rangers.
"This incident clearly shows that the soldiers' high level of discipline and genuine respect for human rights. This is part of our efforts in security sector reforms in the military wherein our soldiers are given continuous indoctrination and training on human rights and the international humanitarian law," he added.
The bandits were identified as Abdulbaki Ismanul, 30, Al Mahdi Arshad, 22, and a child combatant named Abduhaya Pantasan, 12.
Pantasan claimed to be a 4th grade pupil in Tongsengal village.
Three highpowered firearms were confiscated from the bandits including two M16A1 Rifles and an M14 Rifle.
The captives were brought to the military camp in Isabela City for custodial debriefing before being turned over to the local police for the filing of appropriate charges.
104 Brigade Commander Ricardo Visaya has contacted the local officials and the DSWD regarding the case of Pantasan who is a minor.
"We are turning them over to the PNP right after taking their statements. I have contacted a representative from the DSWD for the custody of the child," said Visaya.
The three bandits are believed to be members of the group of Furuji Indama who is responsible for several abductions and killings in the island province.
The soldiers and the police are continuously conducting pursuit operations against the remnant of the bandit group which had splintered into smaller factions to elude the government troops.