Philippines: February 16, 2005


The Abu Sayyaf gunmen on Jolo island, as expected, abandoned their jungle camp and slipped away. The army cordon had cut off food supplies, and military operations had caused some 22,000 local civilians to flee the area. The momentary uprising was technically in support of local politician Nur Misuari ten days ago, but the island, and most of southern Philippines, has suffered violence from Islamic radicals and separatists constantly since large numbers of Christian Filipinos began moving into the area a century ago. The Jolo gunmen will go home, hide their guns, and wait for another opportunity to make a statement. For a century, Islamic separatists have consistently failed to achieve their goal of a separate Islamic state. Lack of organization and poor leadership have consistently crippled those efforts.  


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