Results tagged “Philippines”
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Seven Moro National Liberation Front fighters were killed when the military assaulted a school on the tiny island of Marabon, near the island of Palawan. One soldier was wounded and the military continued to search for MNLF fighters who escaped. MILF announced that it will not assist the government in operations against the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf, which President Arroyo has pledged to destroy.
Three Abu Sayyaf gunmen fired at two Air Force helicopters in Basilan province, damaging a helicopter carrying three journalists. The military is shipping more ammunition and other supplies to Mindanao to bolster the military as it continues to press for the destruction of Abu Sayyaf.
At least 31 Abu Sayyaf militants and 23 soldiers have been killed in intense combat in Basilan province as government troops sustained a massive offensive against terrorist encampments in the remote jungle. The military began the offensive against Abu Sayyaf last month, after Italian Red Cross worker Antonio Vagni was rescued from captivity.
In an early morning raid by the military on an Abu Sayyaf jungle encampment, 10 fighters were killed and an arsenal of improvised explosive devices was discovered and detonated. Ten other Abu Sayyaf gunmen were killed in a separate raid in Basilan province. Over 500 Army soldiers, marines, and police are engaged in an offensive in Basilan, targeting Abu Sayyaf leaders Khair Mundus and Furuji Indama.
Despite the truce with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, an errant shell fired by a military unit that was intended for MILF rebels landed near a school, wounding nine people, including eight children. Several members of the Organization of Islamic States, including Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt, have agreed to join the peace process between MILF and the Philippine government.
A five-year-old boy who was kidnapped by Abu Sayyaf on July 27 in Basilan province was rescued by Marines and reunited with his parents. Formal peace talks between the government and MILF will commence on August 18 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. President Arroyo pledged in her State of the Union Address last week to sign a peace deal with MILF before her term ends in June 2010.
President Obama and President Arroyo discussed US-Philippine relations at the White House, including their mutual commitment to the fight against terrorism in the southern Philippines. In Basilan province, a civilian security volunteer was killed in an ambush by Moro Islamic Liberation Front gunmen only two kilometers outside a Philippine Marine outpost.
Four Abu Sayyaf members surrendered directly to Deputy National Security Adviser Luis Singson in Sulu province; they were rushed back to Manila on board the cabinet member's private plane. President Arroyo stated that terrorist issues will be on the agenda when she travels to Washington to meet with President Obama later this week.
The Moro Islamic Liberation Front announced that it will not return to peace talks with the government unless a mediator is found, although the chief negotiator for MILF ordered his fighters to halt hostilities beginning this Saturday. Three people, including an infant, were killed when Abu Sayyaf terrorists gunned them down while they were riding on a motorcycle in Basilan province.
President Arroyo ordered the military to halt its offensives against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, to set the stage for the resumption of peace talks for the first time since last year. The military will continue to hunt down rogue MILF commanders, and has transferred hundreds of troops for a new offensive against Abu Sayyaf in Basilan and Jolo island.
A bomb blast at an outpost in Central Mindanao killed a soldier; 4 policemen were wounded in an ambush when they responded to the attack. A grenade was also thrown into a grocery store in Cotabato City, wounding 7 people. On Sunday, Philippine troops rescued 5 workers who were kidnapped last Wednesday by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
In southern Basilan province, Marines and security forces rescued two fishermen who were captured by Abu Sayyaf terrorists and held for over three months. Red Cross worker Eugenio Vagni flew home to Italy after six months of captivity by Abu Sayyaf.