More than 50 army battalions have been deployed in Mindanao to wipe out terrorist extremist groups Abu Sayyaf and other terrorist groups within six months, according to a ranking military official of Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
In an interview with ABS-CBN News, AFP Chief of Stadd Eduardo Anio said that this is the largest deployement to be recorded by the government troops of the Philippine military.
This announcement came after intelligence reports about a new terrorist cell called Dawlatul Islamiyah Waliyatul Masrik which replaced Ansar Khilafa Philippines were recently uncovered. Their group leader Mohannad Jaafar Maguid was killed in a military operation earlier this month.
“In the Wesmincom (Western Mindanao Command) area kung nasaan ‘yung Abu Sayyaf at saka mga terrorist groups, 51 battalions ang naka-deploy dito. Not in our history there has been that massive deployment of our troops,” Anio said.
He added that the goal of this deployment is to finally erase these terrorist groups in a short span of time of six months.
“We are going to make sure that our campaign against Abu Sayyaf will be quick,” Anio said.
The assessment of the progress of the counter-terrorism campaign will be done by June this year. The AFP chief said that they are expecting the Abu Sayyaf to be "significantly defeated" because of this deployment.
Aside from theAbu Sayyaf, other terror groups would be the subject of the widespread military campaign such as the Maute group and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana vowed to do something new and innovative to eliminate the terrorist groups to the ground and end the problem.
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