Sunday, July 19, 2009
Abu Sayyaf to be Beaten by Year-End
MANILA –The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) plans to defeat the Muslim
extremist Abu Sayyaf group by the end of this year despite numerous setbacks in the past. The group, which has been blamed for the worst terrorist attacks in Philippine history, was down to just above 300 members from more than 700 some years back.
Malacañang hasrejected the proposed offer of amnesty to members of the
bandit group who would surrender to the government. Intelligence agencies have said that the Al-Qaeda network of Osama bin Laden helped in the formation of the Abu Sayyaf group more than a decade ago. The group has carried out bombings and mass kidnappings in the south, mostly targeting Christians and foreigners. It has raised money by ransoming hostages but has also killed some when they were not paid promptly.
While the Philippine military has killed and captured many Abu Sayyaf leaders -- partly through US assistance -- the extremists remained active and in January they held three international Red Cross workers hostage for months.
The government has already opened peace talks with the country's main Muslim separatist group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) but the Abu Sayyaf is not covered by the talks and the MILF leadership deny that they have links to the Abu Sayyaf.