The government is intensifying its counter-terror
operations, to insure that there are no attacks during the ASEAN meeting this
July 22nd. With al Qaeda affiliate Jemaah Islamiah (JI) badly crippled in
Indonesia, many JI members have fled to the Philippines. There, they are not a
lot safer. But because Moslems are a minority in the Philippines, the Islamic
terrorists are finding it easier to find remote areas where the locals
(Moslems) will not tip off the police. JI technical experts (especially bomb
builders) have made Abu Sayyaf attacks more lethal.
July 4, 2007: Rogue MILF rebels in
the south are demanding a million dollar ransom for an Italian priest they have kidnapped. The MILF has
backed away from using force to free the priest. The MILF is suffering many
defections of late, as the ceasefire has caused a cash crunch among many MILF
units. The ceasefire has forced the MILF to curtail their raids and extortion
operations, which paid to maintain the armed members.
July 3, 2007: The NPA is making the most of recent revelations that army
death squads have been murdering leftist NPA supporters over the last few
years. There is great animosity in the military against the leftist NPA, which
has been killing soldiers, and even civilians, for decades. There has been
death squad activity in the past. The government eventually clamps down on the
death squads, but the NPA is trying to revive foreign support for themselves by
portraying themselves innocent victims of death squad attacks. The NPA is not
innocent, but they need that foreign support (which has faded of late because
the NPA has been labeled a terrorist organization.)
July 1, 2007: The army and police
have launched a new search operation against Abu Sayyaf on Jolo island.
June 29, 2007: A group of about fifty NPA gunmen have launched an
offensive against police and civilians in the southern Philippines. In two days
of battles, the NPA killed one policeman and six civilian village guards. The
latter are a paramilitary organization organized by the government, to help
villages keep the NPA out. The NPA lives by extorting "taxes" from
civilians. The NPA prefers to go after businesses (they have more money), but
will live off villagers if they have to.
June 27, 2007: Abu Sayyaf has
split into three factions, and it's uncertain if they have been able to agree on
who will be the new leader of the entire group. There appears to be a struggle
between Abu Sayyaf members with al Qaeda connections, and those who see the
organization as more of a local operation. It appears that there are only about
400 Abu Sayyaf still active, and most are on the move to avoid capture.