Soldiers of the Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines had an unusual breakfast this Maundy Thursday, April 13. And although there was no extraordinary food served that morning, the brave soldiers enjoyed their meal along with the 11 Abu Sayyaf members who surrendered earlier this week.
According to ABS-CBN News, the breakfast for the soldiers and the Abu Sayyaf members include rice, eggs, fish, and vegetables. As you can see on the photo, the former adversaries were seated together in one dining table. However, the members of the opposite forces neither talked nor greeted each other, and just ate silently.
The 11 Abu Sayyaf bandits reportedly surrendered to the government forces in Barangay Sanga-Sanga, Bongao, Tawi-Tawi last Tuesday, April 11. This includes two Abu Sayyaf sub-leaders, who were identified as Ben Saudi Dambong Sariol and Berong Sariol. Upon their surrender, WestMinCom conducted a medical check-up and interview to them.
“We sincerely welcome these Abu Sayyaf members, who have returned to the fold of the law, and encourage the other bandits to join the government and the peace-loving Filipinos in sustaining the peace in Mindanao without the use of arms.” Westmincom Commander Lieutenant General Carlito G. Galvez, Jr. said.
Also on Tuesday at around 5 a.m., military and police forces had an encounter with Abu Sayyaf members in Inabanga, Bohol. This is after the AFP received reports that 11 heavily armed men will arrive in the area via pump boats, and allegedly have kidnapping plot against foreigners. Countries such as US and UK issued a travel warning in Central Visayas and Mindanao.
Credit: WestMinCom via ABS-CBN News
There were five casualties during the clash. This includes policeman PO2 Rey Anthony Nazareno, three soldiers (2nd Lieutenant Espelito Saldua, Jr., Corporal Meljun Cajaban and Sergeant John Dexter Duero), and Abu Sayyaf leader Muamar Askali, alias Abu Rami. The AFP said it will continue to monitor the movements of the bandit group.