- The AFP has deployed 51 Army battalions to Mindanao
- The troops’ mission is to finally crush the Abu Sayyaf and other terrorist groups within six months
- The government also vowed to employ ‘something new and innovative’ to finish the problem, once and for all
MANILA, Philippines – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has deployed more than 50 Army battalions in Mindanao with the primary mission of ‘wiping out’ the Abu Sayyaf and other terrorist groups within six months; this was confirmed by a ranking military official.
This is said to be the largest deployment ever of government troops in the history of Philippine military, according to AFP Chief of staff General Eduardo Anio.
“In the Wesmincom (Western Mindanao Command) area kung nasaan ‘yung Abu Sayyaf at saka mga terrorist groups, 51 battalions ang naka-deploy dito. Not in our history there has been that massive deployment of our troops,” said Anio in an interview with ABS-CBN News.
[In the Wesmincom area where there are Abu Sayyaf and other terrorist groups, 51 battalions were deployed there.]
The goal of said deployment is to wipe out these notorious terrorists in six months, the official said.
“We are going to make sure that our campaign against Abu Sayyaf will be quick,” Anio explained. “Kasi ayaw din natin patagalin ang labanan dun.” [We also don’t want to prolong the fighting there.]
The AFP chief added that by June this year, during which a new assessment will be made on the progress of their insurgency campaign, they expect the Abu Sayyaf to be ‘significantly defeated’.
Anio’s pronouncements came after intelligence reports recently uncovered a new terrorist cell called Dawlatul Islamiyah Waliyatul Masrik which replaces Ansar Khilafa Philippines; the group whose leader Mohammad Jaafar Maguid was killed in an operation early this month.
Apart from the ASG, other terror groups which will be the subject of said widespread military campaign are the Maute group and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana also vowed to do ‘something new and innovative’ to crush the militant groups to the ground and finish the problem, once and for all.