Philippines: Al Qaeda Makes a Last Stand


January25, 2007: With the death of Abu Sayyaf leader Abu Solaiman, the military force on Jolo is now mainly searching for two Indonesian terrorists ( wanted for the Bali bombings), Dulmatin and Umar Patek, as well as Abu Sayyaf leaders Isnilon Hapilon and Radullan Sahiron (who only has one arm, and is in his 70s.) Intelligence indicates that Dulmatin was wounded in a firefight last week. The cat-and-mouse affair with Abu Sayyaf is big news in the Philippines, as it is the end of the line for the chief Islamic terrorists in the region. Trapped on the island of Jolo, the terrorists are being caught or killed one by one. Months of pressure by the army and marines have worn down the loyalty of people on Jolo. The troops are getting more tips, and the Islamic radicals are spending more time scrambling away from patrols and sweeps. Abu Sayyaf and the Indonesian group, Jemaah Islamiyah, are the major al Qaeda affiliates in southeast Asia, and now their key members are cornered and being picked apart on Jolo.

January 24, 2007:The police have been ordered to disarm nearly a hundred armed political gangs, each following the orders of a local politician, before the May elections. These "private armies" have been around for generations, and account for the many deaths and injuries that occur just before elections. The gangs intimidate voters and generally misbehave. Most of the gang members are armed with machetes, clubs or knives. But each gang has a few guys with guns, and these are the ones the police will concentrate on disarming.

January 23, 2007:NGOs and foreign media are accusing the government of supporting "right-wing death squads" because leftist activists are being killed. Police point out that many of the dead activists are involved in Communist Party politics. The communists play rough, and are known for their murderous purges. Politically, it's to the leftists advantage to blame the murders on political opponents.

January 18, 2007:DNA tests confirmed the identity of Abu Sayyaf supreme leader, Khadaffy Janjalani, who was killed and hastily buried by Islamic radicals four months ago. His older brother, Abubakar Abdurajak Janjalani, founded Abu Sayyaf, but was killed in 1998. Khadaffy Janjalani turned Abu Sayyaf into a more vicious terrorist organization, especially with its kidnapping tactics. DNA testing is a lot quicker and cheaper, and the only time consuming task is getting DNA samples from relatives of the deceased, in order to confirm the family connection.




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