Philippines: Elite Troops Disbanded For Disloyalty


August 18, 2006: In response to their participation in yet another coup attempt, the special operations forces (SOCOM) will be greatly reduced in size. Filipino SOCOM contains Special Forces, Airborne troops and the Scout Rangers. In addition, there are several battalions of marines, who have also participated in coups against the government. The coup attempt last February resulted in a decision to reduce SOCOM to just one battalion each for Special Forces and Rangers. SOCOM was reduced in size after a 1989 coup attempt, but some units were later revived. While SOCOM is useful for fighting terrorists and various rebel groups, the officers commanding such units have too often been the guys who felt that a military dictatorship would help the country.
August 17, 2006: The army warned that it had found several camps in the south where terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah was apparently training terrorists how to make bombs. The army is trying to obtain more precise information, and has warned that this training activity may indicate another terrorist bombing campaign is on the way.
August 16, 2006: In the south, about a hundred NPA rebels attacked a police station, but were driven away by the dozen cops inside. This was the first time such an NPA attack was driven off. The NPA usually assembles an overwhelming forces for an attack on a police station, which is carried out to capture weapons and equipment. In this case, the twelve policemen on duty help off the NPA until reinforcements arrived. This is the eleventh NPA attack on a police station this year.
August 12, 2006: Civilians called on the army to keep several hundred MILF gunmen out of their villages. The MILF fired on the soldiers, and four rebels, and two soldiers were killed.


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