Philippines: November 21, 2004


: Philippine warplanes (two OV-10s in conjunction with at least four MD-500 helicopter gunships and at least one UH-1 Huey) attacked a meeting of Abu Sayyaf terrorists with members of the Indonesian terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), killing at least ten terrorists. The attack has led to a protest from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), despite MILFs denials of connections with these groups.

MILF claims one of its camps was attacked by mistake, which government sources disputed. The government claims MILF was notified, a claim which MILF has disputed. MILF claims the air strike hit one of its camps, and has asked the Malaysian government, which is mediating peace talks, to look into the matter. Abu Sayyaf has not been known to work with JI in the past. MILF has faced accusations of harboring JI terrorists in the past, and the presence of the al-Qaeda-affiliated JI in the Philippines is something that could really make life difficult for MILF, which has had at least one small unit (13 guerillas total) surrender last week.

Abu Sayyaf is also having to deal with another problem: A significant number of bounty hunters are after its leader, Khadaffy Janjalani. Whoever gets him collects $5 million from the United States government. The $5 million is awarded for information that leads to Mr. Janjalani being arrested or neutralized (presumably in a lethal way). Not bad money for dropping a dime on a terrorist, and very tempting in a country where per capita income is $4,600 a year. Harold  C. Hutchison (


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