MARAWI CITY: 60 Maute-IS remnants have surrendered to the government in the past months, the military said.
Colonel Romeo Brawner Jr., 103rd Brigade Commander based at Campo Ranao here, told reporters that 60 more Maute-IS remnants surrendered in the past months due to intense military operations to hunt and neutralize them.
He said, “Certain conditions indicate that the enemy’s recruitment has significantly slowed down following the surrender of Maute-IS remnants.”
Brawner added, “The surrenderers said most of the remnants have been isolated and have lost their will to fight following the series of military operations conducted by the 103rd Brigade in Lanao del Sur.”
He said security forces are postured to thwart a possible attack by the Maute-IS remnants to protect communities.
A military official also supported the statement of Brawner saying the recruitment to the Maute-IS (Islamic State) group has slowed down due to the surrendered of Maute-IS because of intense military operations in the area.
Brawner said the flux of Maute-IS returning now numbering to more than hundred prompted the 103rd to initiate a special program to cater for returnees.
He said: “We are on the preliminary stages. We are pooling up partners for the program. It will start with a comprehensive profiling of our returnees to know their background, identify their needs and vulnerabilities. It also includes interviews as to why they joined the movement.”
Brawner said that the program will serve as a basis on projects that will be implemented to vulnerable communities and prevent them to be dragged to violent extremism .
“We will use the data as a definitive reference to give us an access on the psychological of local Maute-IS returnees. So far, we have been adapting foreign literature on how to combat violent extremism, and it may not necessarily apply to our country due to cultural differences,” he said.
Going after the Maute-IS remanants was among Col Brawner’s stated priorities when he took over 103rd Brigade in December 2018.
“We will employ an arsenal of both lethal and non-lethal means to dissuade our enemies to fight. The lesser engagements we have, the better if they chose to resist, then they will at the lethal and of-our focused military operations”
Brawner said they are giving them a chance to live a peaceful life. “We are calling on the remaining Maute-IS fighters to surrender peacefully to the nearest military installation before the next combat operations fall into your doorsteps. Take this offer now before its too late,” the commander of the 103rd Brigade stressed.
(ASA T. MADALE)