Philippines: The Great Chase


September 2, 2006: On Jolo island, two days of operations against Abu Sayyaf has left at least five of the rebels dead. Eight infantry battalions (five marine and three army), plus some police, are trying to to run down Abu Sayyaf members on the island. It is believed that Abu Sayyaf is harboring several wanted Islamic terrorists, including two Indonesians who were involved in the 2002 Bali bombing. Abu Sayyaf is also believed to have helped Islamic terrorists run mobile training camps. In the last two weeks, there have been several contacts with Abu Sayyaf, resulting in over twenty rebels killed, and at least six captured. Government losses have been four dead and over a dozen wounded. Abu Sayyaf has also suffered at least half a dozen wounded, which has made it easier to track down the survivors. The rebels try to save their wounded, and that slows them down and makes them easier to track. To that end, a special unit of 92 Scout Rangers is being sent to Jolo to help with the search. There are already some American Special Forces troops assisting, especially with electronic surveillance equipment.
August 31, 2006: Communist Party politicians are going to be prosecuted for ordering the mass killings of party members in the 1980s and 90s. Those executed were accused of being government spies, although in many cases, the condemned simply disagreed with the party leadership. Several of those party leaders renounced violence in 1986 and were allowed to enter politics, where they continue to serve. But the radical wing of the party became the NPA, and is still in open rebellion against the government. But Communist Party politicians are accused to continuing to support the NPA secretly, with money and other resources. The recent discovery of a mass grave of the purged, and people who witnessed the killings, made it possible to attempt prosecution of the party leaders who signed off on the mass murder.
August 26, 2006: An army patrol on the island of Leyte discovered a mass grave of Communist Party members executed in the 1980s and 90s during purges. Nearly 200 skeletons were discovered, along with some locals who remember the killings.
August 25, 2006: NPA rebels ambushed an army patrol in the south, leaving one soldier and three rebels dead.


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