Philippines: Abu Sayyaf Worn Down by Good Deeds

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March 12, 2007: Abu Sayyaf rebels have not been able to select a new leader, to replace the one killed two months ago. The Abu Sayyaf rebels on Jolo are worn down after months of pursuit by 8,000 marines and soldiers. Worse, Filipino and American troops have won the support of many civilians with many aid projects. Without the strong support of the local civilians, the few hundred Abu Sayyaf rebels on Jolo cannot stay in one place for long. The constant moving, lack of food and medicine, has left the rebels demoralized.

March 11, 2007: The government is trying to get the Netherlands to arrest the two communist leaders who have been living in Holland for 20 years. Evidence was recently obtained, showing the two were responsible for a "purge" in the 1980s that left at least fifteen people dead. The exiled leaders have organized financial and diplomatic support for the communist NPA rebels in the Philippines.

In the south, fighting between MILF and the army continues, with three rebels killed and eleven wounded. Peace talks with the MILF continue, despite these skirmishes.

March 10, 2007: In the south, skirmishing between MILF gunmen and soldiers continues. Apparently, many of the MILF fighters want to avenge the deaths of 17 of their number last week.

March 8, 2007: In the south, MILF fighters fired 81mm mortar shells at army camps. There were no casualties.

March 7, 2007: In the south, the army pulled out of two Moslem villages, and called off its pursuit of MILF forces in the area. This led the local MILF commander to pull his forces back as well.

March 6, 2007: In the south, some 200 MILF gunmen attacked army troops in two villages. One soldier, and at least 17 rebels were killed. The MILF attacked because they felt the soldiers were advancing into MILF territory, where the army should not be. The fighting spread, as the army pursued the rebels. Some 4,000 civilians fled 17 villages to avoid the violence.

March 5, 2007: Canada has warned its citizens to avoid election rallies in the Philippines, between now and the May elections. Violence during election campaigns has been getting worse over the last decade, and this year involves the possibility of terrorist bombings as well.


 

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