Philippines: The United Nations Is Here To Help You


February22, 2007: In the south, NPA rebels attacked army engineers, leaving one soldier dead and three wounded. Elsewhere, police arrested to NPA members, who had been running an extortion racket against candidates in upcoming elections ("pay us, and we won't shoot up your rallies and kill your workers.")

February 21, 2007: On Jolo island, six months of intense operations (with about 8,000 troops) against the last large group (about 400 people) of Abu Sayyaf Islamic terrorists, has resulted in at least 70 dead terrorists, including two senior leaders, plus at least fifteen captured. Jolo island has always been the main base of Abu Sayyaf, and the home island of many of the groups members. Several hundred American troops have also been involved, mainly to operation intelligence gathering equipment (tapping radio and cell phone communications.) Filipino casualties have so far been 30 dead and 90 wounded.

February 20, 2007: UN investigators accuse the military of being responsible for the deaths of 830 people, killed by death squads, in the last six years. A government investigation found that military commanders did not order the attacks, but tolerated them. Most of the dead were leftist supporters of the communist NPA rebels. The NPA has a long history with death squads, as they have been using them for decades. The NPA also has a history of internal purges, which have left hundreds of members killed after being suspected of disloyalty. It was with great difficulty that the NPA was officially declared an international terrorist organization recently. For decades, the NPA were just considered well-meaning leftist rebels, and had many allies in Europe, and even in the UN bureaucracy. The UN investigators say they have no hard proof because witnesses are intimidated.

A counter-terrorism law was passed, the first one for the Philippines. It makes it easier to hold suspects, and imposes harsher punishments for terrorist acts.

February 18, 2007: American diplomats have asked Moslem separatist organization MILF to help find Abu Sayyaf rebels on Jolo island. This was done in cooperation with U.S. counter-terrorism efforts, and the use of a few hundred American Special Forces troops in the Philippines (to assist Filipino troops.)

February 16, 2007: In the south, police clashed with NPA rebels, leaving two policemen and two rebels dead.




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