Philippines: Our Gang


November 2, 2010: The military continues to grind away at NPA communist rebels, MILF Moslem separatist rebels and Abu Sayyaf Islamic terrorists. This has been going on with greater effectiveness and intensity in the last few years, and the rebels groups are losing, but slowly. All three groups have some popular support. The NPA is all about social justice for poor Filipinos. But the NPA has been at it for decades, with little progress to show for it. So this inhibits recruiting. Same with the MILF, which wants to establish an Islamic state in the south. Abu Sayyaf is modeled on al Qaeda, but is based on some southern islands which have a long history of resistance to the central government. But the kidnapping and ruthless violence of al Qaeda turns off many of the locals. All this takes place within a society that allows wealthy men and powerful political organizations to maintain their own militias. These armed gangs will fight each other, but also any NPA, MILF or Abu Sayyaf in their area.  The Philippines can be a very violent when the many gangs or little private armies start shooting at each other.

Drug and kidnapping gangs are adopting some of the same tactics of the older political and religion based rebel groups, by attacking key police officials. Intelligence specialists and commanders are often targets, in an attempt to intimidate police, or make them more amenable to taking a bribe..

October 30, 2010: In a rural area of the north, NPA rebels ambushed an army patrol, killing three soldiers and wounding four. The area has seen more violence as the army seeks to find NPA camps and shut down the rebel activities in the area.

October 27, 2010: In the south, troops clashed with a group of 15 NPA rebels, killing two of them.

October 26, 2010:  Yesterday's nationwide elections for village level posts (like village head) left at least 33 dead and several hundred injured. There are 42,000 villages involved and the election campaigns often involve clan, religious and ideological rivalries.

October 24, 2010: In the south, on San Andres island, several dozen NPA rebels ambushed two police vehicles, and were repulsed, losing one dead and several wounded. Two policemen were wounded.

October 21, 2010: In the south, a bomb went off in a bus, killing nine people. At first, it was thought that an MILF faction was responsible, as a way to disrupt peace talks between MILF and the government. But when arrests were made a week later, those responsible turned out to be an extortion gang. Such extortionists are responsible for most such attacks on buses.

Elsewhere in the south, an MILF ambush killed two government officials and a soldier.




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