Philippines: Big Battle on Jolo Island


November 14, 2005: On Jolo, three battalions of soldiers and marines are beating the bush searching for up to 300 Abu Sayyaf gunmen. About 40 have died in three days of skirmishing, half soldiers and marines, half Abu Sayyaf. Some members of MILF on Jolo, who are supposed to be honoring a truce, have apparently gone to the aid of Abu Sayyaf (which was originally a radical MILF splinter group.) Heavy rains have restricted the use of helicopter gunships and bombers, but artillery have been brought in.

November 13, 2005: On Jolo, fighting with Abu Sayyaf continued, with seven soldiers dead and 33 wounded. At least 19 Abu Sayyaf have been killed as well. The troops are pursuing a large group of Abu Sayyaf into the bush.

November 12, 2005: On Jolo, soldiers encountered a large group of Aby Sayyaf fighters, and a gun battle began.

November 11, 2005: A recently captured member of Rajah Solaiman Movement, the JI and al Qaeda affiliated terror group, has agreed to testify against his fellow terrorists. Meanwhile, 870 kilometers south of the capital, fifty special forces soldiers rebels attacked a police station, looking for weapons taken from drunken soldiers who had been arrested earlier. The troops stole ten firearms, a radio and a computer, and escaped in three vans. No police were killed, but later 156 soldiers were arrested by military police and charged with crimes. On Jolo island, an army patrol was ambushed by Abu Sayyaf gunmen.


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