In the last three months,
pre-election violence has has caused nearly a hundred casualties, in 82
incidents. The May 14 elections will 200 national legislators and 17,000 local
officials. Regional notables maintain their own private armies of thugs, which
they turn out at election time, to intimidate opponents and influence the
vote. The violence this year is worse than recent years.
April 25, 2007: On Jolo, police seized over
half a ton of bomb making materials.
April 24, 2007: On Jolo, the army attacked a
MNLF camp belonging to a rogue commander ( Habier Malik) believed to be allied
with Abu Sayyaf. The government believes Abu Sayyaf, Habier Malik and
Indonesian members of Jemaah Islamiyah have joined forces in the southern
Philippines, hoping to find refuge among the majority Moslem population.
April 21, 2007: Australia and the United
States warned their citizens to avoid the southern Philippines over the next
few days, because of the danger of terror attacks by Abu Sayyaf. This warning
upset the Philippines government, which doesn't like foreigners taking the lead
in reporting terror dangers inside the country.
April 20, 2007: On Jolo, an unsuccessful
attempt to extort a $105,000 ransom for seven kidnapped Christians (six
laborers and a fisherman), ended when the Abu Sayyaf kidnappers killed their
victims and had the heads delivered to military outposts. The Islamic
terrorists had asked the local Christian community to come up with the money,
and did not wait to negotiate when the local Christians didn't have the
cash. Abu Sayyaf could not afford to be slowed down by seven hostages,
not with all the soldiers and marines patrolling Jolo. Abu Sayyaf needs
the cash to buy the loyalty of the Moslem villages. The Moslems on Jolo are not
as loyal as they used to be, after nearly a year of military operations
searching for the few hundred remaining Abu Sayyaf.