Kidnapping is becoming a bigger source of cash for Islamic terrorists. Last year, Islamic terrorists gained $560,000 in ransoms from six kidnappings of Filipinos. Now, the Islamic radicals are demanding $5 million for three Red Cross officials, two of them Europeans. There have been 12 kidnappings so far this year in the south. The government is discouraging the payment of ransom, and putting thousands of police and troops into rescuing the victims and capturing the kidnappers.
On Jolo, troops are again closing in on the area where three Red Cross workers are held by Islamic terrorists. The terrorists have threatened to kill their captives if the security forces do not back off, but that has not worked. U.S. electronic warfare and special operations forces are assisting the Filipino military in the effort to recover the three Red Cross officials.
April 16, 2009: Clashes with communist NPA rebels in the south and east left three soldiers and one rebel dead.
April 13, 2009: Three narcotics policemen were ambushed and killed in the south, leading to a manhunt for the killers. Drug smuggling is a big business in the Moslem south.
April 11, 2009: Police pursued MILF kidnappers on Basilan, and recovered six of the victims. The MILF gunmen were apparently seeking loot and ransom, and eventually killed one of their two remaining hostages. Elsewhere in the south, 25 MILF gunmen attacked a local defense force, killing one of them, and losing three of their own. The MILF retreated when army reinforcements arrived.
April 10, 2009: Several dozen MILF gunmen raided a village in the southern island of Basilan, killing one farmer and kidnapping eight people, five of them children. Meanwhile, on Jolo, police seized 900 blasting caps and over 800 pounds of bomb making materials. These items apparently belonged to Abu Sayyaf.