PA chief designates Supnet to head ongoing Sulu operations
Sunday, January 14 2007 @ 02:47 PM GMThttp://news.balita.ph/html/article.php/20070114144710812
Army chief Lt. Gen. Romeo Tolentino has appointed a new officer to lead the Army's ongoing operations against the terrorist groups Abu Sayyaf and its Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) cohorts in the island province of Sulu.
Army spokesman Maj. Ernesto Torres expressed high hopes for the designation of Col. Antonio Supnet as commander of the Army's 104th Brigade, replacing Col. Reynaldo Sealana who was given another brigade to head in Visayas.
In a telephone interview, Torres said Supnet was able to deliver accomplishments for the Philippine Army (PA) not only encounters but also apprehension and surrender of leaders and members of the two terrorist organizations.
"He has a deep appreciation of his area of responsibility, he knows the people well, he knows the enemy and the terrain. He is a good trainer, he is a disciplinarian," said Torres of the new Army commander in Sulu.
Before his assumption as 104th Brigade commander, Supnet was commander of the military's Task Force Zamboanga and chief of staff of the now-defunct Southern Luzon Command.
He also served as commander of the Anti-Crime Task Force of the AFP, an elite unit based in Camp Aguinaldo.
"He will have a strong impact on the military operations in the area. It (appointment) will have a big impact against the Abu Sayyaf, JI and the lawless elements. He is a good officer," Torres added.
He stressed Supnet's being a lawyer
will also be an advantage in leading the Army operations in Sulu. "He is a legalist, that is one of his additional strengths," Torres said.
Supnet's appointment came at a time when the military is in the middle of implementing its Oplan Ultimatum, aimed at neutralizing key Abu Sayyaf and JI leaders in the island province of Sulu.
The ground operations are being carried out by Army and Marine forces since August last year.
Military officials said government forces in Sulu are winning against the terrorists. The group allegedly killed Abu Sayyaf chieftain Khadaffy Janjalani following a fierce clash in Patikul town, according to Abu Sayyaf surrenderees who even led the soldiers to Janjalani's remains last Dec. 7.
United States and Filipino forensic experts have taken tissue samples of the remains to determine if the body indeed belongs to Janjalani, who has a US$ 1-million reward from Washington for his neutralization.
Last Jan. 6, the military pursued five Abu Sayyaf leaders and members and a JI member fleeing from Sulu province. The soldiers caught up with the terrorists off the waters of Tawi-tawi, killing all the six.
Among those killed were JI operative Gufran, alias Abu Samur a trustee of JI leader Dulmatin; and Abu Sayyaf leader Ibrahim Hassan, a trustee of Abu Sayyaf chieftain Khadaffy Janjalani.
Government troops also killed Binang Sali, alleged leader of the Abu Sayyaf's Urban Terrorist Group, who perished following a clash with Scout Rangers in Patikul, Sulu last Tuesday. (PNA)