From Presidential Spokesperson Ernie Abella – On the beheading of a soldier by the Abu Sayyaf Group

We strongly condemn the beheading of Staff Sergeant Anni Siraji of the 32nd Infantry Battalion (32IB).

The fallen soldier was abducted by the members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in Igasan, Patikul, Sulu, on April 20 while he was on his way for a peace and development mission. The cadaver of Staff Sergeant Siraji was found in the vicinity of Sitio Kan Suil, Barangay Tagbili, Patikul, Sulu at 2pm yesterday, April 23.

While Staff Sergeant Siraji was a soldier, he was a MNLF member who decided to trade his rifle as a fighter to become a peacemaker and agent of development to his fellow Tausugs.

This barbaric act committed by ASG to a fellow Tausug has no place in a civilized society. We call on all citizens to remain vigilant, alert and watchful and to cooperate with our security forces as our troops continues to pursue this bandit group and hold them accountable for their brutal and senseless crimes.

This is our assurance to the family of Staff Sergeant Siraji: That we would not stop until justice is served. Let us work against common criminals to have safer and more secure communities.