Following the deadly clash in Basilan last August 12, the military in Mindanao is giving itself until yearend to comply with President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s orders to crush the Abu Sayyaf – if it can find them.
Armed Forces Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom) chief Maj. Gen. Ben Dolorfino said Monday the al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf, which he said now numbers only 40 to 50 in Basilan, is now mobile and its members have mixed with local folk.
“Identified natin ang kanilang areas dito sa Basilan. Ganun pa man highly mobile, there are times [nakikisalamuha] sila sa ibang grupo sa Basilan kaya napakahirap [nilang] habulin. It would require a lot of intelligence effort ma-determine saan sila bago kami maka-conduct ng operation,” Dolorfino said in an interview over dzXL radio.