Philippines: Terrorists Turn To Tokers

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November 28,2008: On Sulu, the military operation against Islamic terrorist group Abu Sayyaf has forced the organization to spend all its money (from several lucrative kidnappings over five years ago). Now the terrorists have turned to drugs (marijuana) and kidnapping to raise funds to keep the group alive. Soldiers and marines have destroyed several large marijuana plots (several acres), and are seeing more kidnapping for ransom. The terrorists used a lot of the ransom money buying the loyalty of the locals in the remote areas where the Islamic radicals hid out. With the end of the cash supply, the locals are less loyal, and providing more tips to the police and military.

Troops overran an NPA camp in the south, and found a bomb workshop. Here, roadside bombs were being put together.

Elsewhere in the south, the army continues trying to capture the three renegade MILIF leaders (Umbra Kato of the 105th Base Command, Abduraman Macapaar  of the 102nd and Solaiman Pangalian of the 103rd) and the several thousand armed MILF men that follow them. The mainstream MILF leadership has disowned the three commanders, but refuses to join the army in hunting the renegades down.

Despite all the talk of terrorists and Islamic separatists, most of the country is safe enough that tourism is up, with the number of foreign visitors up four percent over last year. The Philippines is becoming more popular with Russians, Indians and Chinese.

November 24, 2008: A janitor at the National Police headquarters was arrested for trying to sell stolen weapons. The janitor had access to old or damaged weapons that were to be destroyed, and he was stealing them. Apparently he had accomplices. Elsewhere in the capital, police arrested a father-son team of Abu Sayyaf terrorists, in town to plan attacks. Police announced that they were seeking other suspects, and believed that they had disrupted plans to Christmas holiday terror attacks in the capital.

November 19, 2008: On Jolo, an Abu Sayyaf member was caught near a civilian airport, with a bomb and a disguise. The plan was to set off the bomb at the airport.

November 17, 2008: The NPA is demanding that the army cease its operations against them in Mindanao, or else an army Special Forces officer the NPA captured ten days ago will be killed. The NPA has refused to hold peace talks with the government unless they, and the Communist Party, were removed from international terrorist watch lists. The terrorism listing prevents the NPA from raising money overseas, especially in Europe, where many leftists are willing to fund the NPA terror campaign in the Philippines. The government refuses to negotiate with the NPA unless the subject is the eventual disbandment of the NPA.

November 15, 2008: On Basilan island, Abu Sayyaf rebels released the last of three aid workers (belonging to a Malaysian NGO) that were kidnapped  two months ago. On nearby Jolo island, police killed Abu Sayyaf leader Faidar Hadjadi (who was involved with the 2001 kidnapping of 17 people at a beach resort.) Further north, MILF rebels ambushed an army convoy, killing two soldiers.

 

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