Philippines: Amnesty Weakens Communist Rebels

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September 5, 2007: Two poorly made fertilizer bombs exploded in a southern (Zamboanga) market. No one was hurt, although some merchandise was damaged in the pre-dawn blast. The bomb was very crude and weak. Abu Sayyaf was suspected, but this one looked like a sloppy high school science experiment.

September 4, 2007: The government is going to try another amnesty program, this time directed at the communist NPA rebels, who appear to be having financial, morale and leadership problems. Many NPA members appear ready to give up the rebel life. The current round of fighting by communist and Moslem rebels has been going on for over 40 years, with no positive result. Some 150,000 people have been killed, and over two million forced to flee their homes. Meanwhile, the economy has been growing at an annual rate of 7 percent. Amnesty has worked in the past with Moslem rebels.

September 2, 2007: The army found and seized a major NPA camp in Luzon. The communist rebels saw the troops coming, and about 30 of them quickly departed. Documents, equipment and other material was left behind. In the south, the MILF truce was broken again as a group of rebels clashed with some soldiers. Two rebels died.

August 31, 2007: The army will not abide by any Ramadan truce. The month long Moslem religious event begins on September 13, and is sometimes observed with a ceasefire, as sometimes happens during Christmas. But Abu Sayyaf would use such a ceasefire to rebuild its support network and plan more terror attacks. So no ceasefire for the 10,000 troops and police on Basilan and Jolo.

 

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