Philippines: Trends

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January12, 2007: The government believes the communist NPA rebel organization is on its way out. The NPA has lost about 5,000 members to army and police operations in the past five years. Most foreign countries have also declared NPA a terrorist organization, and cut off fund raising overseas. The NPA had about 11,900 members in 2002, but that is down to 7,000 now, and expected to be under 4,000 in another three years. There were 1,789 clashes with armed NPA members last year, resulting in the killing or capture of 850 rebels. Many other surrendered, or simply deserted. Further south, the Islamic terrorist Abu Sayyaf organization remains active, and in the news, but is believed to have only about 500 members. There were 99 clashes with the Abu Sayyaf last year, most of them involving over 6,000 soldiers and marines on Jolo island, where about 300 Abu Sayyaf try to avoid detection and capture. The largest rebel organization, the Moslem MILF, has a ceasefire with the government, and is hammering out a peace deal. The Philippines has had battles with the Moslems for centuries, and the communists have been a problems since the end of World War II (1945).

January 11, 2007: The MILF began checking its own people, looking for some diehards who may have been involved in yesterdays bombings.

January 10, 2007: Terrorist bombs went off in three southern cities, killing seven and wounding dozens. These attacks were believed an attempt to disrupt the ASEAN ( Association of South East Nations) conference on January 13-15. This will include presidents and prime ministers from China, Japan, India, Australia, South Korea and New Zealand, along with leaders of the ten members of ASEAN.

January 9, 2007: Australian counter-terror officials issued warnings that Islamic terrorists would attempt attacks in the Philippines before the ASEAN conference begins on January 13th. Other Western governments issued similar warnings.

January 7, 2007: Police arrested a member of the Rajah Solaiman Islamic Movement. This group is composed largely of Christians who converted to Islam and became terrorists. It's not a large group, and has not been very active. But it's still out there.

January 6, 2007: The navy, with some army commandos, caught a group of Abu Sayyaf trying to reach Tawi-Tawi island, and killed seven of them. One of the dead men was involved in the kidnapping of three Americans in 2001. Two other Abu Sayyaf were arrested in the south.

 

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