August 13, 2007:
On Jolo and Basilan islands in the south, police and troops searched for
weapons and Islamic terrorists, seeking to corner and destroy the remaining
groups of Abu Sayyaf diehards based there. The last week saw a sharp increase
in fighting on Jolo, accompanied by over 10,000 civilians fleeing areas they
believed Abu Sayyaf was hiding in. Over sixty people have died on Jolo in the
last few days, and two more battalions of troops were sent to the the island.
About half the dead have been Abu Sayyaf and MNLF, the rest soldiers and
civilians. Troops are trying to collect unregistered weapons, and locate bands
of armed Abu Sayyaf. The local Moslem separatist group, the MNLF, has been
unofficially siding with Abu Sayyaf.
MNLF made peace with the government 11 years ago, but tensions remain,
and the group has taken responsibility for ambushing and killing soldiers. The
6,000 troops on Jolo hope to intimidate the MNLF supporters into inaction,
while cornering and eliminating the hundred or so Abu Sayyaf gunmen. The army
now believes two wanted Indonesian terrorists are hiding out on Jolo. The seriousness of the situation was
reinforced as an army tactical headquarters was set up in the southern city of
August 10, 2007: In the south, fishermen hauled in
a World War II bomb. Back ashore, the bomb went off as the fishermen tried to
pry it open, to extract the explosives. Four people were killed.
August 7, 2007: Police arrested several members of
an Islamic terrorist cell, that was in the midst of preparing a bomb attack on
a mall in the capital. The bomb was found in a nearby Moslem neighborhood, and
known Islamic terrorists were arrested.