ZAMBOANGA CITY – The Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) recorded 288 members of terror groups neutralized during the first quarter of this year, a top military official said Wednesday.

Lt. Gen. Alfredo Rosario Jr., commander of the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom), said 66 of the 288 were New People’s Army (NPA) combatants, 49 Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) bandits, 64 Dawlah Islamiya-Maute Group (DI-MG) extremists, and 109 Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) radicals.

Rosario said of the 66 NPA rebels, one was killed, three were arrested and the remaining 62 surrendered. A total of 63 assorted firearms were also recovered.

Of the 49 ASG bandits neutralized, five were killed, two got arrested, and 49 surrendered, Rosario said, adding that 38 firearms were seized.

“The series of neutralization to include the influx of surrender weakened the firepower and capability of the ASG terrorists,” he said.

He said the armed capabilities of the DI-MG also weakened due to the neutralization of its remaining members.

The military official noted that 64 DI-MG personalities were killed while 61 firearms were recovered from January to March this year.

DI-MG is composed of the combined remnants of the Maute, Toraife, and Hassan factions, he said.

Meanwhile, Rosario noted a decrease in the violent activities of the BIFF due to the series of surrenders among its ranks.

Rosario said at least 109 BIFF members yielded to the government forces and 107 firearms were also handed over in the first quarter of the year.

“We are gaining ground because of the cooperation and support of the local government units and the different sectors of society and the swift reaction of troops to reports from civilians as to the whereabouts of our adversaries,” he said. (PNA)