TWO Abu Sayyaf group members surrendered in Basilan on Sunday, according to the military. 

In a statement on Monday, the Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom) said the two were under the Abu Sayyaf faction of the late Furuji Indama, who replaced Isnilon Hapilon, a long-time leader of the Islamic State-affiliated group who was killed during the Marawi siege in 2017.  

Indama, who took over command of the Basilan-based Abu Sayyaf members, was killed in an encounter with government forces in 2020.  

Since then, the kidnap-for-ransom and terrorist group has weakened, WestMinCom said. 

“We continuously encourage those who are still hiding in the hinterlands of Basilan to come out,” WestMinCom commander Alfredo V. Rosario, Jr. said in the statement.

“The armed forces and the local government units will never cease to provide all necessary assistance during their reintegration into mainstream society. We will guide them during the process to ensure that they will not be lured to join any lawless group again,” he said.

Earlier this month, 12 members of the Abu Sayyaf in Sulu, another island province southwest of the Philippines, also turned themselves. 

The military’s Sulu Task Force said it has recorded 823 Abu Sayyaf returnees since 2017. — MSJ