ZAMBOANGA CITY: Four members of Islamic State for Iraq and Syria (ISIS)-inspired Dawlah Islamiya (DI) have surrendered to the government authorities in the province of Lanao del Sur, officials said Friday.
Lt. Col. Franco Raphael Alano, commander of the Army’s 55th Infantry Battalion, said the DI combatants surrendered Thursday to the command in Marogong town, Lanao del Sur, and turned over five firearms consisting of an M653 carbine rifle, two 40-mm grenade launchers, and two .45-caliber pistols.
Alano said the four decided to surrender after a month of negotiations and dialogue with local officials and relatives in Marogong town, as well as former members of the Dawla Islamiya.
Alano assured that in collaboration with the municipal government, the Army will assist the surrenderers’ reintegration into mainstream society.
One of the surrenderers, Jamil (not his real name), said they realized that joining a terrorist organization was against the teachings of Islam, according to Alano.
Alano said the surrenderers also divulged being discouraged to continue after DI lost many supporters.
Col. Jose Maria Cuerpo II, commander of the Army’s 103rd Infantry Brigade, called on the remaining members of the ISIS-inspired group to lay down their arms and “end the senseless violence in the Lanao provinces”.
“We will remain relentless in our campaign against the remaining DIs in the province, and we will also intensify our reintegration efforts to address not only the needs of our returnees but of their families’ as well,” Cuerpo said.
The four DI surrenderers underwent custodial debriefing and will later undergo medical and physical examinations, Alano said.
Food packs containing 25 kilos of rice, and other food items and hygiene kits were also provided to them by the Office of the Presidential Adviser in the Peace Process (OPAPP), the Army official added.
Maj. Gen. Generoso Ponio, commander of the 1st Infantry Division, lauded the 55IB and the civilian stakeholders involved in the surrender of the DI combatants.
“Truly, our campaign against terrorism also relied on the cooperation and involvement of the local government units, datus, Ulamas and even the local populace itself,” Ponio said.
“We can defeat terrorism by whole-of-nation approach, trusting and helping each other, so that our future generations will inherit the just and lasting peace that everybody is aiming for,” he added.
(Teofilo Garcia, Jr./PNA/SRNY/RSP)
Categories: Lanao del Sur