Philippines: February 4, 2004

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The armed forces have increased their efforts against the NPA. On Masbate island, troops captured an NPA camp out in the bush. Meanwhile, outside of the capital, NPA rebels attacked air force engineers who were building a school. One soldier and one rebel were killed and 13 others were wounded. NPA is following the classic communist script for revolution. This requires attacking infrastructure and economic targets and making life so miserable that they will join the rebellion. This does not always work.

In the past week, army patrols and raids against NPA groups has resulted in several clashes, leaving over a dozen NPA dead, more wounded and some of the groups disorganized. Heavy patrolling in the south has also been directed at suspected Abu Sayyaf groups still thought to be operating. Most of the Abu Sayyaf, it appears, have either turned to banditry or simply drifted back to being full time civilians.

 

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