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Archive for the ‘Terrorism’ Category

tnalak-getty2Tnalak-gettyKORONADAL, PHILIPPINES – JULY 18: Filipino natives wait for their turn to perform at the 2009 T�nalak Festival, showcasing South Cotabato Province tribal cultures on July 18, 2009 in the southern city of Koronadal, Philippines. T�nalak is an indigenous term for colorful cloth woven by women of the T�boli tribe that has brought recognition to the province in the national and international scene. US-trained Filipino security forces were placed on heightened alert over fears the country’s homegrown Islamists could try to emulate the Jakarta hotel bombings. Early this month, twelve people died and more than 100 others were wounded in separate attacks carried out by local militants in the region. (Photo by Jeoffrey Maitem/Getty Images)

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MANILA, PHILIPPINES - JUNE 19: Filipino Muslim kids, among the tens of thousands people displaced in the ongoing fighting between Philippine security forces and Muslim separatist rebels, study inside their tent night of June 19, 2009 in the restive Maguindanao province, 960km south of Manila. Fighting between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the country's 11-900-strong rebel group and Philippine military troops began August 2008 when the rebels launched series of attacks across several villages due to aborted signing of a deal that would give them their homeland. Around 300 people died but displacing over half a million more in the initial attacks and fighting which has followed. The Norwegian Refugee Council, an independent humanitarian non-governmental organization engage in providing assistance, protection and durable solutions to refugees and internally displaced persons worldwide, recently reported the Philippines was the most neglected displacement situation last year. The council said the world's largest new displacement last year happened when 600,000 people fled fighting between Philippine troops and Moro rebels in Mindanao. The MILF Muslim separatist rebel group are fighting for an independent Islamic state in the southern Philippines. (Photo by Jeoffrey Maitem/Getty Images)

MANILA, PHILIPPINES - JUNE 19: Filipino Muslim kids, among the tens of thousands people displaced in the ongoing fighting between Philippine security forces and Muslim separatist rebels, study inside their tent night of June 19, 2009 in the restive Maguindanao province, 960km south of Manila. Fighting between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the country's 11-900-strong rebel group and Philippine military troops began August 2008 when the rebels launched series of attacks across several villages due to aborted signing of a deal that would give them their homeland. Around 300 people died but displacing over half a million more in the initial attacks and fighting which has followed. The Norwegian Refugee Council, an independent humanitarian non-governmental organization engage in providing assistance, protection and durable solutions to refugees and internally displaced persons worldwide, recently reported the Philippines was the most neglected displacement situation last year. The council said the world's largest new displacement last year happened when 600,000 people fled fighting between Philippine troops and Moro rebels in Mindanao. The MILF Muslim separatist rebel group are fighting for an independent Islamic state in the southern Philippines. (Photo by Jeoffrey Maitem/Getty Images)

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Inquirer
Last updated 02:17am (Mla time) 10/12/2007

 

ZAMBOANGA CITY—The military yesterday said there are more Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) operatives, who have sought refuge in Sulu and nearby areas, than was previously thought.

Maj. Gen. Nelson Allaga, Western Mindanao Command chief, said these JI members are operating alongside the Abu Sayyaf.

“During the Tawi-tawi incident on Jan. 6, our forces killed one of them along with several Abu Sayyaf members including Jundam Jamalul alias Black killer,” Allaga said.

Dulmatin aide

He said Gufran, also known as Abu Samur, was a trusted aide of JI leader Joko Pitono or Dulmatin.

Aside from Dulmatin, the other prominent JI members now in Sulu are Umar Patek and Zulkifli Bin Hir alias Marwan in Sulu.

All three JI leaders carry a bounty of $5 million each for their capture, dead or alive.

Maj. Gen. Reuben Rafael, chief of the Task Force Comet, said the exact number of JI operatives now in Sulu and nearby areas could not be determined yet.

“But there are more or less 10 of them. That is also the main reason we have been conducting relentless operations against them,” he said.

He said the military was trying its best to prevent the JI operatives from slipping out of Sulu.

“Dulmatin and Patek are still in the area based on the information we gathered,” Rafael said.

Rafael said JI operatives like to seek refuge in Sulu and nearby areas such as Tawi-tawi “because of the support they get (from the Abu Sayyaf).”

In return, JI operatives provide the Abu Sayyaf with logistics and technology on bomb-making.

Funding sources

The Abu Sayyaf, a self-styled Islamist group, has also found other sources of income, according to Allaga.

“They now also peddle drugs to youngsters,” he said.

Rafael said at the height of Oplan Ultimatum phase 1 in 2006, more than two hectares of land planted with marijuana were discovered in Sulu.

On Monday last week, Rafael said they again discovered marijuana plants during another operation.

Chief Supt. Adzar Albani, chief of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in Western Mindanao, confirmed that the Abu Sayyaf’s terror activities are now also being funded by money from narcotics. Julie Alipala with reports from Edwin Fernandez and Jeoffrey Maitem, Inquirer Mindanao


Copyright 2007 Inquirer. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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By Arlyn dela Cruz, Nikko Dizon, Norman Bordadora
Inquirer
Last updated 01:38am (Mla time) 10/21/2007

 

The military statement followed claims from someone supposedly representing the Rajah Solaiman Revolutionary Movement (RSRM) that the bombing of the Glorietta 2 mall was the handiwork of the group.

The claim, however, appeared to be a hoax.

“Allahu Akhbar, we want the military to immediately release Ahmed Santos to prevent incoming collateral damage. Makati is just the beginning,” said a text message from someone who identified himself as “Sheik Omar RSRM.”

The RSRM is another name used to refer to the Rajah Solaiman Movement (RSM), an alleged Islamist terror band linked by security officials to the Abu Sayyaf Group. Police say the RSM—an urban-based group composed mostly of Muslim converts or “Balik Islam”—has been neutralized and is inactive since 2006.

The text message was sent to a senior reporter of the ABS-CBN television network yesterday morning.

A senior officer of the Philippine National Police doubted the claim.

“It would be easy to name RSM as the one behind the Glorietta bombing and I will not be surprised if suspects allegedly from RSM will be arrested, but no—that could not have been the handiwork of RSM,” said the officer.

“It’s a terror attack no doubt, but not RSM or any al-Qaida-linked group.”

The officer, a counterterrorism expert, asked not to be identified, saying he is involved in the probe of the bombing and does not want the investigation jeopardized.

Wrong scenario

Even the way the text message was composed is suspicious, said the officer.

“Why address it to the military? Did you see that in previous messages or statements made by the ASG (Abu Sayyaf Group) or the RSM? Compare it and you will see that it’s not even close to the authentic statements made by real terrorist groups in the past,” the officer said.

He added in Filipino: “Whoever drew up that scenario is wrong. He mixed revolutionary and Islamic (terms) and that is not correct ideologically. And if they really studied the personalities in RSM, Santos and Omar are enemies. Definitely, Omar will not ask for the release of Santos.”

Santos, arrested in 2006 in Zamboanga, is detained at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig while Omar is at large and has a million peso reward money for his capture.

PNP intelligence sources claim Omar is Ruben Lavilla in real life and adopted the name Sheik Omar when he converted to Islam. He hails from Lambunao, Iloilo, is a former medical student at the University of the Philippines in Manila and studied shariah law in Madena, Saudi Arabia.

Omar is described as an articulate and passionate Islamic preacher. He was last known to be in the Middle East.

National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief Director Geary Barias said the PNP would have to verify if the RSM really issued statement claiming responsibility.

“Our intelligence will have to validate that because it might be a hoax,” Barias told the Inquirer.

In Davao City, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) said it was easy to know if the Abu Sayyaf was behind the Glorietta explosion.
Eid Kabalu, MILF civil-military relations chief, cited incidents in which the bandit group was involved—such as the bombing of the Superferry off Manila Bay in 2004—and “they immediately came out with a statement.”

Kabalu urged authorities to dig deeper into the incident to determine who was really behind it.

Trillanes claim

“It is a terrorist act, whoever is the perpetrator,” Esperon told reporters. “He is terrorizing the people, but we don’t know yet who is behind it.”

Esperon rejected Sen. Antonio Trillanes’ reported claim blaming him for Friday’s carnage.

“It is alleged that I am the mastermind. It’s very illogical that it would be me because [it is my job] to ensure the country’s security,” Esperon said.

“This is a political pronouncement of a politically biased person. But let’s see, he might have a report,” he said.

In his website (trillanes.com.ph), the detained former Navy lieutenant accused Esperon and National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales of perpetrating the bombing.

“This blast is most likely another tactic of the administration to divert public attention away from the controversies hounding GMA.”

Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr., who was in Baguio City for the 109th Foundation Day of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA), said the incident was “apparently a terrorist attack.”

At the PMA, Teodoro asked for a moment of silence to remember those killed and injured in Friday’s attack.

A security expert tied the Glorietta bombing to local extremists’ bid to be recognized by international terror groups involved in the process of identifying which terrorist cells to fund.

Robles’ view

Retired Commodore Rex Robles told the Inquirer that it was unlikely that the explosion was a “pseudo-destabilization” meant to divert attention from scandals rocking the government, saying the bombing’s effect on public consciousness would only be “short term.”

“If the Rajah Solaiman group is indeed a breakaway organization from a bigger group, then they need funding. It fits our description of a group that needs publicity to be recognized and to get better funding,” Robles said in a telephone interview.

Robles said the al-Qaida network toward the end of the year would do “a sort of budget hearing” and identify which terror group to fund in certain regions based on its capability to launch terrorist attacks.

Robles said the only local groups capable of carrying out strong explosions, were the Abu Sayyaf, the MILF, the Moro National Liberation Front and special units of the Armed Forces.

National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales yesterday said the bombing at Glorietta could be a fund-raising operation of terrorists to get more funding from international supporters, and be a prelude to bigger attacks.

Speaking on radio, Gonzales said that real terrorists would not hesitate to hit innocent civilians and that the attack could be the work of the al-Qaida-linked Jemaah Islamiyah group and its local supporter, the Abu Sayyaf.

He said his office had been receiving intelligence reports that Metro Manila was to be the next target of terrorist attacks. With reports from Alcuin Pap, Cynthia D. Balana, Dona Pazzibugan, Allan Nawal, Julie Alipala, Jeoffrey Maitem, Inquirer Mindanao


Copyright 2007 Inquirer. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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By Edwin Fernandez, Jeoffrey Maitem, Charlie Sease
Mindanao Bureau
Last updated 05:29pm (Mla time) 10/20/2007

 

KIDAPAWAN CITY, North Cotabato — Authorities on Friday filed charges against 25 suspects in the October 5 twin bomb attacks here that left two people dead and over 30 others wounded.

Among those charged were Mohammad Nur Hassan and Macmod Manibpel, both identified with the extremist group Abu Sayyaf.

Hassan and Manibpel were earlier arrested in connection with a 2003 bomb blast at the passenger terminal here but both of them escaped from the North Cotabato provincial jail in Amas last February along with several other prisoners.

“They were identified by our witness as those who planned the (October 5) attacks,” Superintendent Marcelo Pintac, chief of the police’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in North Cotabato, told the Inquirer.

Chief Inspector Leo Ajero, city police director, said witnesses also mentioned foreign-trained bomber Abdul Basit Usman of the Jemaah Islamiyah.

But he said Usman was not among those initially charged because there was no evidence he ordered the bombings.

“It’s up to the prosecutor to determine whether to include Basit Usman’s name in the charge sheet or not,” Ajero said.

Al Calica, head of the justice department’s Special Task Force Against Terrorism in Central Mindanao, said his office was still “carefully studying the case” before forwarding it to the court.

“We hope the case will prosper to give justice to the innocent victims. We have done our part; it’s the prosecutor’s turn,” Pintac told reporters.

Meanwhile, police and military units in Central Mindanao were placed on the highest state of alert because of terrorist threats, according to Ajero.


Copyright 2007 Mindanao Bureau. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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By Jeoffrey Maitem
Mindanao Bureau
Last updated 02:13pm (Mla time) 10/20/2007

 

COTABATO CITY, Philippines–The Darul Ifta (House of Opinion) in Mindanao, a collegial body of Islamic scholars and religious leaders, has condemned the perpetrators of Friday afternoon’s Glorietta bombing.

“The Muslim community in the Philippines condemns the bomb attack. It is the work of insane people,” Esmael Ebrahim, liaison officer of the Darul Ifta in Mindanao, said on behalf of his group on Saturday.

Ebrahim urged the government to bring justice to the victims of the explosion.

But Ebrahim said the military and the police should be circumspect in their investigation to avoid illegal arrests among Muslims residing in Manila.

“There must be a thorough investigation on this matter and they should not illegally arrest any of our innocent brothers,” he told the Philippine Daily Inquirer (parent company of INQUIRER.net) by phone.

The Darul Ifta has openly condemned terrorism in the past, including those involving the Abu Sayyaf.

“Islam is against terrorism,” said the group in a statement issued last year at the height of the Central Mindanao bombings.

Mohaqher Iqbal, chief negotiator for the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), also expressed sympathy for Friday�s bombing victims.

“We express our condolences to the victims and their families who suffered from the explosion,” Iqbal said.

Iqbal also cautioned the government against making conclusions without a thorough investigation.


Copyright 2007 Mindanao Bureau. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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By Jeoffrey Maitem
Mindanao Bureau
Last updated 05:33pm (Mla time) 10/20/2007

 

KIDAPAWAN CITY, North Cotabato — Police and military units in Central Mindanao were placed on the highest state of alert because of terrorist threats, a police official said Saturday.

Chief Inspector Leo Ajero, city police director, said intelligence reports indicated that the Jemaah Islamiyah and its allies were planning to explode bombs in key areas of the region anew.

“We ask the people to be alert and to report to authorities any suspicious baggage to prevent any terror attacks,” Ajero said.

The alert status was also being enforced in malls and other public places in the region and in nearby Southern Mindanao region.

In Davao City, security has been tightened with guards thoroughly checking on every customer entering malls.

Checkpoints were also put up along highways in the provinces of Davao Del Sur, Davao Oriental, Davao Del Norte, and Compostela Valley.

Bus passengers, especially males, were required to get off and submit themselves to frisking.


Copyright 2007 Mindanao Bureau. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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