Philippines: Tis The Season to Keep Fighting

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December 19, 2007: On Basilan, a group of Abu Sayyaf fired on a transport helicopter, alerting a company of marines nearby. This led to several days of fighting in the jungle. Elsewhere, Abu Sayyaf attacked marines who were collecting information in a village. That left six rebels and two marines dead. Troops have kept the pressure on Islamic radicals on Basilan for over a year. Abu Sayyaf is losing local support because of the constant presence of troops and police, and the economic building projects the government has moved in. The troops prevent Abu Sayyaf from interfering with the economic programs, and locals are more willing to inform on the Islamic terrorists.

December 17, 2007: It was a busy weekend, with a senior Abu Sayyaf leader was killed in the far south, while about 250 kilometers north of that, a wanted Egyptian Islamic terrorist, and bomb making expert, was captured.

December 16, 2007: The NPA said it would continue attacks, despite the army's three week holiday cease fire, which began today. The NPA rejected peace talks, and said it would continue its decades old struggle to establish a communist dictatorship.

December 15, 2007: The government offered the communist NPA rebels a three year cease fire, if they would resume peace talks. At the same time, troops got into a battle with a fifty man unit of the NPA, and ended up in the capture of an NPA base camp. Meanwhile, the two major Moslem rebels groups, the MNLF which made peace with the government in the 1990s) and the MILF (which is still negotiating) have agreed to meet and settle their own differences.

December 14, 2007: The army declared a three week unilateral holiday truce with the NPA rebels.

 

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