Philippines: A Stroke Of Good Luck


December 6, 2011: An Australian was kidnapped in the south, and the Australian government warned its citizens to avoid parts of the southern Philippines where Islamic radical groups (like MILF and Abu Sayyaf) were active.

December 4, 2011: In the south (North Cotabato) soldiers attacked an NPA camp, killing three of the 30 rebels living there. The rest escaped, but the soldiers suffered no casualties. Elsewhere in the south, NPA rebels captured six army intelligence troops, questioned them, and then let them go.

December 3, 2011:  After several attempts, Abu Sayyaf terrorists finally managed to damage a key bridge on Sulu Island. The bridge allowed troops to rapidly get around the island, in pursuit of Abu Sayyaf men.

December 1, 2011:  In the south, police arrested an Abu Sayyaf member, Hussin Ahaddin, and accused him to carrying out the November 27th bombing of a hotel. Ahaddin admitted he had been involved with several bombings over the last nine years.

November 29, 2011: In the south, three soldiers were killed by a landmine. MILF, NPA and Abu Sayyaf all use landmines, often locally made ones, to protect themselves from the security forces or to terrorize hostile civilians.

November 28, 2011:  MILF has offered an amnesty to members of the breakaway BILF (Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Front) faction, in the wake of the recent death (via a stroke) of their leader, "Commander Kato". Last September MILF expelled the rogue BILF. Actually, MILF had expelled the BILF commander, Ameril "Kato" Umbrakato, and hoped to entice his followers to remain with MILF. Kato, and BILF ignored a September 26th deadline to return to MILF control, or else. BILF said it would keep fighting. BILF has, at most, a thousand armed men. There are several other rogue factions that, if they allied themselves with BILF, would double the number. But rogue factions are not inclined to join forces with anyone, so MILF can pick them off one at a time. While a bloody process, that is what the government demanded before peace talks could resume. MILF sees Kato's unexpected death as an opportunity to quietly dismantle BILF.

November 27, 2011: In the south, a bomb went off in a hotel, killing three and wounding 27.

November 24, 2011: Four hackers were arrested in the Philippines, and accused of hacking into corporate telephone systems at the behest of Islamic terrorist groups, who then made millions of dollars selling the stolen long-distance service to Arab migrants in Europe. The hackers were first backed by Jemaah Islamiyah and Pakistani terrorist groups, and more recently by a Saudi group. The Philippines has become a hotspot for computer hacking groups, and the Filipino police are trying to change that. These arrests were the result of information provided by the American FBI, which had been investigating international phone fraud and the hackers behind it.

November 23, 2011:  In the south, four people were killed when a grenade was thrown into a room. Police are trying to discover if this was Islamic, or criminal terrorism.



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