NOTORIOUS BANDITS. Two 'notorious' members of the Abu Sayyaf Group surrender to the Joint Task Force (JTF)-Sulu Friday (June 17, 2022). One of the two surrenderers says they decided to lay down their arms as they no longer have the support of their former strongholds in the island-province.  (Photo courtesy of JTF-Sulu)

ZAMBOANGA CITY – Two notorious Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) members, one of whom was involved in the beheading of two foreign hostages, surrendered to military authorities in Sulu province on Friday.

Major Gen. Ignatius Patrimonio, Joint Task Force (JTF)-Sulu commander, said Mujer Yadah, 55, and Ben Tatto, 41, both based in Indanan, Sulu, surrendered in the provincial capital of Jolo.

“The ASG surrenderers also brought with them two M-16 rifles,” Patrimonio said in a statement.

Patrimonio said Yadah admitted his link with the group of ASG senior leader Majan Sahidjuan alias "Apo Mike” since 2002, and was involved in kidnappings for ransom, bombings, and beheading of two Canadians in 2016.

The two Canadians together with a Norwegian and a Filipina were kidnapped in September 2015 by the ASG while the victims were on vacation at a resort in Samal Island, Davao del Norte.

After the death of Apo Mike in March last year, Yadah claimed they were always on the run, exhausted, and often experienced starvation.

He also bared they no longer have the support of locals, prompting them even further to lay down arms.

Colonel Jaime Mojica, Sulu police director, said the ASG surrenderers have pending warrants of arrest for kidnapping for ransom (KFR) with homicide and kidnapping and serious illegal detention.

“As the military formally handed the ASG surrenderers to us, they will properly undergo the legal process,” Mojica said.

Patrimonio said the surrender of the two ASG bandits showed the government's “successful peace and security campaign” in Sulu.

Since January this year, a total of 67 ASG members voluntarily surrendered to the military-led JTF-Sulu bringing along with them 44 assorted firearms. (PNA)