Philippines: January 4, 2003


The remnants of Abu Sayyaf remain quite active in the southern part of the Philippines and continue to carry out terrorist actions, principally abductions. Abu Sayyaf  is currently holding four Filipino Jehovah's Witnesses and three Indonesia tugboat sailors kidnapped in 2002 on Jolo island. Roughly 600 miles south of Manila, the Jolo area is a known base for Abu Sayyaf leaders Galib Andang and Mujib Susukan. These two are suspected of leading a raid on the nearby Malaysian island resort of Sipadan in April 2000, when rebels abducted 21 people (including 10 Western tourists). All except one Filipino hostage were freed, reportedly after Libya paid huge ransoms. 

The military has stepped up their offensive against the Abu Sayyaf and there have been other recent small government victories.  Five soldiers were wounded when NPA rebels ambushed them on Mindanao.- Adam Geibel 


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