Philippines: February 14, 2005


Government forces (three army and two marine battalions, plus several hundred Scout Ranger commandoes) have tried to surround  the Abu Sayyaf camp on Jolo island. Cutting off food and ammo supplies, while hammering the rebels with helicopter gunships, artillery, bombers and small arms fire, is expected to force a decision. Based on past experience, the lack of supplies, and constant fire power, will cause most of the rebels to sneak away from the jungle camp, get killed, or surrender. This could go on for a week or more. Over 5,000 civilians have fled the fighting so far. Government casualties are being kept low, by bringing in more firepower and forcing the rebels to make a move if their want to try and get past the surrounding troops. The rebels have plenty of trenches and bunkers, which will keep their casualties low. It's not known how many rebels are up there now. It may be a hundred or fewer men, or 300 or more. 


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