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MANILA, Philippines – Stopping the Abu Sayyaf, which as of late beheaded two foreign hostages and abducted 7 more, is the top priority of President Rodrigo Duterte's military, according to his incoming defense minister on Wednesday, June 29.

Delfin Lorenzana, who leads the defense department on Thursday, said the kidnappings of the terrorist group – which is also dubbed as the worst terror assaults in Philippine history – were also influencing the economic situation of the country.

"Our first priority is the Abu Sayyaf because that is the order of our new president: address the Abu Sayyaf immediately so we can neutralize them," Lorenzana said.

The Abu Sayyaf has resisted the government endeavors to stop and eradicate them for two decades now, for example, its late kidnapping of 7 Indonesian sailors, making the nation to stop its coal trade to the Philippines, have affected the economy.

The Abu Sayyaf not long ago beheaded two Canadian prisoners who were abducted from a yachting resort in September. Another prisoner, a Norwegian was also taken in the same strike, is as yet being held hostage along with other foreign and local abductees.

Lorenzana said the military would proceed with its operations to recoup the hostages and catch the bandits.

"If they need more troops, more warm bodies, we will support them, depending on their request," Lorenzana included.

[Related Story]: 3 Suspected Abu Sayyaf Members Arrested In Basilan. Must Read!

Source: Rappler

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