On Sulu, the military operation against Islamic terrorist group Abu
Sayyaf has forced the organization to spend all its money (from several
lucrative kidnappings over five years ago). Now the terrorists have turned to
drugs (marijuana) and kidnapping to raise funds to keep the group alive.
Soldiers and marines have destroyed several large marijuana plots (several
acres), and are seeing more kidnapping for ransom. The terrorists used a lot of
the ransom money buying the loyalty of the locals in the remote areas where the
Islamic radicals hid out. With the end of the cash supply, the locals are less
loyal, and providing more tips to the police and military.
overran an NPA camp in the south, and found a bomb workshop. Here, roadside
bombs were being put together.
the south, the army continues trying to capture the three renegade MILIF
leaders (Umbra Kato of the 105th Base Command, Abduraman Macapaar of the 102nd and Solaiman Pangalian of the
103rd) and the several thousand armed MILF men that follow them. The mainstream
MILF leadership has disowned the three commanders, but refuses to join the army
in hunting the renegades down.
the talk of terrorists and Islamic separatists, most of the country is safe
enough that tourism is up, with the number of foreign visitors up four percent
over last year. The Philippines is becoming more popular with Russians, Indians
2008: A janitor at the National Police headquarters was arrested for trying to
sell stolen weapons. The janitor had access to old or damaged weapons that were
to be destroyed, and he was stealing them. Apparently he had accomplices.
Elsewhere in the capital, police arrested a father-son team of Abu Sayyaf
terrorists, in town to plan attacks. Police announced that they were seeking
other suspects, and believed that they had disrupted plans to Christmas holiday
terror attacks in the capital.
2008: On Jolo, an Abu Sayyaf member was caught near a civilian airport, with a
bomb and a disguise. The plan was to set off the bomb at the airport.
2008: The NPA is demanding that the army cease its operations against them in
Mindanao, or else an army Special Forces officer the NPA captured ten days ago
will be killed. The NPA has refused to hold peace talks with the government
unless they, and the Communist Party, were removed from international terrorist
watch lists. The terrorism listing prevents the NPA from raising money
overseas, especially in Europe, where many leftists are willing to fund the NPA
terror campaign in the Philippines. The government refuses to negotiate with the
NPA unless the subject is the eventual disbandment of the NPA.
2008: On Basilan island, Abu Sayyaf
rebels released the last of three aid workers (belonging to a Malaysian NGO)
that were kidnapped two months ago. On
nearby Jolo island, police killed Abu Sayyaf leader Faidar Hadjadi (who was
involved with the 2001 kidnapping of 17 people at a beach resort.) Further
north, MILF rebels ambushed an army convoy, killing two soldiers.