Kidnappings are up. For the first four months there were 17, compared to only ten for the same period last year. While the police have broken up several major kidnapping gangs, there are still plenty of criminals out there who know the drill. Many of the current kidnappings have been small change, with foreigners grabbed and held briefly for only a few thousand dollars ransom. This indicates a gang that wants to just get a little money quickly, as the more you ask for, the longer the process takes (the the greater the chance of getting caught.) The police have been distracted this year by political unrest, and that has led to less effort against criminal gangs.
May 6, 2006: Two attacks by communist NPA rebels left three soldiers dead.
May 1, 2006: Police have found and raided an Abu Sayyaf safe house near the capital. They five known terrorists escaped, and are believed fleeing south. Bomb making materials were found. The population, even in Moslem areas, is not friendly towards Islamic terrorists, meaning that there are many people willing to tip off the police.
April 30, 2006: Another fifty armed members of the MILF have surrendered and accepted the government amnesty. The MILF is in the final stages of working out a peace deal with the government. This will give the Moslem south more autonomy, and economic opportunities for MILF gunmen. Similar deals with other Moslem separatists organizations did not work well because of corruption. This time around, the government will keep a closer eye on economic development money it sends south.
April 27, 2006: A notorious Abu Sayyaf kidnapper was arrested in Basilan. Abdasil Malangka Dima was a member of the gang that kidnapped twenty people, including three Americans, five years ago. Dima was suspected of involvement in ten other kidnappings as well, and had a $2,800 price on his head. The military and police have been hunting for Abu Sayyaf members for the last five years, but there are still several hundred of the Islamic terrorists at large.