Philippines: Keeping the Terrorists Busy

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February 7, 2008: In the south, NPA rebels are getting particularly violent in trying to force mining companies to pay protection money. In the last few days, at least seven people have been killed in NPA attacks. If you don't pay, the NPA comes after mining facilities, or owners and management. As the latter are often locals, this turns into a war between the communist rebels and armed entrepreneurs. Although the NPA has been taking a beating for the last five years (since they lost much of their foreign funding, largely from European leftists, when they were declared terrorists), they insist they will keep fighting until the end. The government hopes to reach the end within five years. The NPA violence has been going on since the 1960s, killing over 40,000 people so far.

Over ten thousand soldiers, marines and police continue to chase after Abu Sayyaf (mainly) and other Islamic terrorists in the south. This has been going on for over a year, and has reduced the number of terrorist attacks. Each month, dozens of terrorists are been killed or captured, out of the several hundred believed to still be in business. But because the terrorists have dispersed into dozens of smaller groups, that keep in touch with cell phones, messengers and such. These terrorist cells have to spend most of their time avoiding encounters with the security forces, and that leaves little opportunity to terrorize anyone.

February 4, 2008: On Jolo island, an early morning army raid to rescue two kidnapping victims, led to the death two soldiers, three MILF rebels and several civilians.

January 31, 2008: In the south, a bomb went off outside a fish canning plant, killing three and wounding over twenty. Islamic terrorists were suspected at first, but it was soon discovered to be an extortion gang. Criminal use of bombs is more common in the Moslem south than religion based terrorism. In this case, the al Khobar gang has been using bombs to extort money from bus companies and factory areas throughout the region.

January 30, 2008: Abu Sayyaf leader Wahab Upao was killed by police in the south. Upao had a $160,000 price on his head. He had led the terrorists who kidnapped 17 people from a Palawan beach resort in 2001. Upao also led a raid on a Catholic school last month, during which he killed a priest. Upao was killed while covering the escape of wanted Indonesian terrorist Dulmatin (a Jemaah Islamiyah leader.) Dulmatin has a $10 million price on his head.

 

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