Joint Task Force Sulu beefs up forces to defeat Abu Sayyaf

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 17) — Troops from war-torn Marawi City will be sent to Sulu to step up the offensive against the Abu Sayyaf, the Joint Task Force Sulu chief said Thursday.

"Meron na akong additional one ranger battalion ditto. Darating ngayon yung main body ngayong araw na ito [We already one ranger battalion here. We are expecting the main body to arrive today]," Brig. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana said.

The redeployed troops bring the number of the task force's battalions to 11.

Sobejana said they are beefing up forces to launch "focused military operations" to rescue remaining captives and reduce the number of bandits believed to be around 300.

Meanwhile, he said the military should not be given a deadline to eliminate the lawless group.

"Minsan, it leads to hasty actions, best effort lang pero very deliberate [Sometimes, it can lead to hasty actions so we will give our best effort but very deliberate]," he said.

A bandit splinter group released two police officers on Wednesday. Authorities did not reveal the number of hostages held by the Abu Sayyaf.