Philippines: Abu Sayyaf On The Run


September 9, 2006: On Jolo, six weeks of intense operations against Abu Sayyaf has resulted in a dozen rebels killed, ten captured and many more wounded. Eleven troops and police have died as well. Abu Sayyaf has been kept on the run, and disrupted. Between the government informer network, and the American electronic reconnaissance (eavesdropping and aerial photos), Abu Sayyaf has had a hard time communicating, and coordinating operations between the several groups on the island. But the troops are getting worn down as well, with all the patrols in the mountainous jungles. But fleeing Abu Sayyaf are also tired, and have dozens of sick and wounded to worry about. Some of these will be left at villages, where they may be discovered or turned in. And then there's always the risk that government forces will completely surround a large group of Abu Sayyaf, and take down a large chunk of the organization. One such "siege" is under way right now.
September 8, 2006: Peace talks with the MILF have stalled over how much territory will be under Moslem control. The MILF wants territory that was, in the past, majority Moslem (but is now mostly Christian) included. The MILF also wants more control over finances than the government is willing to risk. There's a lot more corruption in the Moslem south, and allowing local authorities more control over tax revenues would just see more of it stolen.
September 6, 2006: The pursuit of Abu Sayyaf on Jolo has led to the capture of large stocks of food, weapons, equipment and bomb making materials. Documents have also been captured, indicating the nature and extent of the Abu Sayyaf organization, and it's relationships with other terror groups.
September 4, 2006: On Jolo island, marines encountered a force of 200 Abu Sayyaf. Six marines were killed and 19 wounded, and the Abu Sayyaf fled with their dead and wounded. A platoon of 30 marines first encountered, and attacked a group of 20 Abu Sayyaf who were having a meal. But the marines didn't know over a hundred other Abu Sayyaf were nearby. The larger group of Abu Sayyaf attacked the marines, who had to defend themselves until reinforcements arrived. Apparently there were some 200 Abu Sayyaf in the area, the largest group thus far encountered. Using trucks and helicopters, the soldiers and marines are trying to surround the rebels, and kill or capture most of them.


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