Results tagged “Philippines”
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The government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front signed a "wealth-sharing" deal that gives the militant Islamist group a 75 percent share of earnings from natural resources and metallic minerals in a region to be set aside for the Muslim minority in southern Mindanao; in addition, the government and the MILF will split energy earnings equally. A final peace deal with the 12,000-strong MILF remains to be worked out; still to be decided is how the rebels will disarm, and the extent of the proposed autonomous region, which is believed to contain hundreds of billions of dollars' worth of gold, copper, and other mineral reserves.
The US warned its citizens against traveling to Mindanao or the Sulu archipelago because of "continuing threats ... due to terrorist and insurgent activities." Earlier this week US diplomatic staff were told not to travel to Davao, Cotabato, or Zamboanga in Mindanao. Australia and Canada also warned of new threats of terrorism and kidnapping in the southern Philippines.
The military is reviving plans to build new air and naval bases at Subic Bay that would allow greater US access and use. US forces helping the Philippines counter al Qaeda-linked insurgents in the south have shared several Philippine bases since 2002, and US naval ship visits to Subic have increased over the past few years.
Vowing to defend Philippine territory against all challenges, President Benigno Aquino III said that $1.74 billion will be spent over the next five years to modernize the military. Abu Sayyaf militants released a Filipino-Chinese businessman who was kidnapped on April 7; the group is still holding at least five captives, including four foreign men and the wife of a Filipino military officer.
Seven Marines and five Abu Sayyaf fighters were killed during a clash on the island of Sulu; nine Marines were also wounded. The troops were tracking a group of Abu Sayyaf fighters behind kidnappings in the area.
Foreign Minister Albert del Rosario recommended that the Philippines pull its 342 troops out of the UN peacekeeping force in the Golan Heights, following the recent abduction of four troops by the Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade, a Syrian rebel group that abducted 24 Filipino troops in March. He said the rebels are using the four troops as human shields.
Some 100 Philippine troops raided a camp of 30 Islamist militants near Tipo-tipo on Basilan, killing eight. Authorities said wanted Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon was wounded but managed to escape. He was meeting with two Indonesians from Jemaah Islamiah and another Abu Sayyaf leader prior to the assault. The militants were said to be planning to disrupt elections; bomb materials and weapons parts were found. The government said US bases would return to the Philippines only in the event of "extreme emergency."
Some 8,000 US and Philippine troops began a joint two-week military drill, simulating battles and disaster responses. The Foreign Secretary suggested that the US may be allowed a great military presence in the Philippines given increasing regional threats.
Militants from the al Qaeda-linked terror group Abu Sayyaf released Australian hostage Warren Richard Rodwell, whom they had held captive after kidnapping him in December 2011. A Philippine security official said Rodwell was freed after a ransom was paid.
Clashes in Sulu province between Abu Sayyaf and the MNLF have resulted in the deaths of 20 MNLF fighters and 17 Abu Sayyaf militants. The fighting began in the village of Patikul when the MNLF tried to rescue a captive Jordanian hostage from Abu Sayyaf; the hostage, along with several others, including a Japanese, a Malaysian, an Australian, and European birdwatchers Ewold Horn and Lorenzo Vinciguerra, is still being held by the militants.
The Moro National Liberation Front attempted to free a Jordanian hostage being held by Abu Sayyaf in Jolo. Eight MNLF and 13 Abu Sayyaf fighters were killed in the clash; the fate of the Jordanian is not known.