Philippines: June 18, 2001


Apparently Abu Sayyaf did behead one of their American hostages, although the body has not yet been found. As a result, president Arroyo has vowed to completely crush and wipe out Abu Sayyaf. There are now some 5,000 troops on Basilan, searching for about 450 Abu Sayyaf. The government is aided by the fact that Abu Sayyaf is split into factions. The Abu Sayyaf groups on nearby Jolo island have much of the ransom money from earlier kidnappings and have not been generous in sharing it out. This has made existing personal animosities more serious. Meanwhile, the army on Basilan says they have located the Abu Sayyaf rebels on Basilan, but that the rebels are in very rugged terrain and it is difficult to get enough troops into the area. 


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