ARMY troops conquered two Abu Sayyaf bandits while the army conducted non-stop operations against the local terrorist group in Basilan and in the neighboring province of Sulu.
The bandits were arrested by parts of the 18th infantry battalion of the army while carrying out clean-up operations in Sitio Pusong-Pusong, Barangay Camamburan, Ungkaya Pukan, Basilan.
Armed Forces Western Mindanao Command spokesperson Lt. Col. Gerry Besana identified the captured terrorists as Vilyamin Garamun and Geramun Dahocoh, followers of ASG leader Furuji Indama.
They took out a Carbine and an M-1 Garand rifle and ammunition.
In Sulu, members of the 1st Scout Ranger battalion clashed at about 3 p.m. on Tuesday with about 30 bandits under subleader Mujer Yadah in Barangay Tugas, Patikul.
The gunfight followed another encounter between elements of the 5th Boy Scout Ranger battalion with another group of bandits around 9:05 in Barangay Latih, also in Patikul.
The army is conducting non-stop operations against the ASG in the two provinces, after the suicide bombing in Lamitan City, Basilan more than two weeks ago that killed 11 people and injured nine others.
The bombing, which Defense Minister Delfin Lorenzana said, was carried out by a Moroccan for the ASG, has prompted the army to tighten up security in Western Mindanao.
"The Western Mindanao command is committed to supporting its activities against the Abu Sayyaf group in Sulu and Basilan, and we will not waver until the last bandit is neutralized," said Lt. Gene. Arnel dela Vega, commander of the Western Mindanao Command.
"With the support of local chief executives, stakeholders and the community, our campaign against terrorism will soon be the fruit of lasting peace and prosperity not only in Sulu and Basilan, but throughout Western Mindanao," he added.
The operations in the two provinces were carried out at the same time with the ongoing military operations in Central Mindanao, which in the past few days have led Islamic soldiers in Maguindanao to an Islamic group with state attention.
The clashes with the Abu Toraife group in Barangay Darampua, Sultan Sa Barongis and Maguindanao have so far killed seven militants, according to the army.
Toraife and his men are escaped members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters.
The operation against the group began on Monday after the army had established its location using the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
The army uses a combination of mortar and artillery fires, air strikes and ground attacks in battle.