More troops to be deployed to Sulu, Basilan to neutralize Abu Sayyaf threat

MANILA — The military will deploy more troops to Sulu and Basilan to eliminate the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) once and for all, Western Mindanao Command (WMC) spokesperson Maj. Filemon Tan said Thursday.

Additional troops will come from Luzon and Visayas and from battalions currently unengaged due to the ceasefire declared by the New People’s Army, Tan said.

He declined to give exact figures on the number of soldiers to be deployed but said the reinforcements will be “sizeable”.

Tan said the additional troops will prove very handy in searching forested areas where the group is hiding.

As of this posting, there are 5,000 soldiers in Sulu and another 2,500 in Basilan.

Insertion of additional soldiers started early this month and Air Force Lockheed C-130 “Hercules” transport aircraft were used to deploy these troops. Priam Nepomuceno/PNA/