Philippines: Go Down Fighting


February 3, 2011:  In the south, disputes between the factions of the rebel MILF and pro-government MNLF has led to several gun battles in the last month, leaving dozens wounded (including 13 dead). Several thousand people have fled their homes to avoid the shooting. Two local MILF and MNLF commanders had disputes with each other, and the argument escalated to involve over a thousand armed men from both groups. The army and police are trying to broker a ceasefire. Meanwhile, peace negotiations with MILF are still underway, mostly haggling over details. Abu Sayyaf continues to be worn down, and its core members appear ready to go down fighting.

Public, sworn testimony by former military finance officials detailed how generals stole millions of dollars a year for their personal use. The finance officials testified how they manipulated the accounts to cover up the thefts for years. The generals deny any wrongdoing, but auditors are finding evidence backing up the accusations. A lot of money was given to the military, and, well, disappeared.

February 2, 2011: In the north, a group of fifty NPA rebels attacked civilians and police doing flood relief work, killing two civilians, wounding one policeman and kidnapping another.

January 31, 2011: In the south, three MILF members, including a commander, were arrested for extorting money from businesses.

January 27, 2011: Recent bombings, which no one took credit for, appear to be the work of known MILF bomb builders. This was discovered after army bomb experts examined the fragments of the bombings. These bombings are believed to be part of extortion attempts, not political terrorism, and could be Abu Sayyaf, who has been known to hire technical experts who "belong" to the MILF. If the bombing was the work of Abu Sayyaf, they would normally take credit, an essential part of their terrorism tactics.  

January 25, 2011: A bomb went off in a bus in the capital, killing four people. No one took credit.

January 23, 2011: In the north, NPA gunmen ambushed a local police chief, killing him and four other policemen.

January 21, 2011: While chasing a wounded terrorist on Basilan, troops came across an Abu Sayyaf camp, which contained a bomb building workshop, and several bombs in different states of completion.  




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