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  • » 09/20/2011, 00.00

    PHILIPPINES

    As Abu Sayyaf terrorises Mindanao, fears rise about possible abductions of locals religious



    As Abu Sayyaf runs out of money, it plans to kidnap nuns and men religious. In the past week, bombs explode in Cotabato. The local cathedral is damaged.
    Zamboanga (AsiaNews) – Without a leader and desperately needing funds, Abu Sayyaf Islamic terrorists continue to terrorise Mindanao, the Philippines’ predominantly Muslim autonomous region. Sources told AsiaNews that the group was planning to abduct locals nuns and men religious to destabilise the region. But the news has yet to be confirmed. 

    In recent days, extremists placed three bombs near religious buildings in Cotabato, including the city’s cathedral, without causing casualties.

    However, fearing more attacks, the authorities have placed the Bishop’s Residence and the Churches of the Rosary and Queen of Peace under tight surveillance.

    Today, Filipino soldiers shot three militants during the rescue operation of Luisa Galvez, a businesswoman abducted on 4 September.

    The risk areas are Cotabato, General Santos, Sulu, Lanao and Maguindanao, where thousands of residents have been forced to flee their village as a result of fighting between militants and army troops.

    Despite President Aquino’s promises, the decades-old war between Islamic extremists and the Filipino army is far from over.

    At the diplomatic level, talks between the government and the extremists of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) are deadlocked whilst rebels continued to refuse the president’s autonomy offer.

    However, the MILF’s ranks have shrunk and many of its former commanders are working with the army to release hostages in the hands of Abu Sayyaf, the most dangerous terrorist group in the region.

    In 2010, the group carried out 11 abductions earning US$ 5,000,000 in ransom money. It has close to 400 fighters, and remains without a central leader after several of its top commanders were killed or captured by troops in recent years. Its two biggest factions are based in Basilan and in nearby Sulu province.

    The group still holds two Filipino-Americans, an Indian, a Malaysian and a Japanese.

    Some analysts believe that some army generals are working with the militants in order to keep tensions high and get a cut in the money generated by weapons sales, abductions and drug smuggling.
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    See also

    24/01/2006 PHILIPPINES
    Jailed Jolo Muslim rebel leader to be set free
    Moro National Liberation Front leader Nur Misuari will be freed on health grounds. Rebel leader throws his support behind Filipino President Arroyo and is in favour of US troop presence in Jolo.

    08/08/2005 PHILIPPINES
    Thousands of troops to supervise elections in Mindanao
    There are fears of violence, electoral fraud and Islamic terrorism. Ten suicide bombers from Indonesia might be in the country. Catholic sources warn that no one will be able to vote freely because electoral corruption is too ingrained—many will abstain.

    04/09/2009 PHILIPPINES
    More education for the young and less politicking are the path to peace in Mindanao
    A member of Silsilah, a joint Muslim-Christian group that promotes interfaith dialogue, says that 40 years of conflict in Mindanao have led Christians and Muslims to mistrust one another. Only teaching the young about the value of dialogue and non-violence can real, lasting peace be achieved.

    15/02/2005 PHILIPPINES
    Inhuman and wicked attacks, says Filipino Archbishop
    Archbishop Capalla condemns yesterday's triple terrorist attack. They are against the teachings of God and Allah.

    02/06/2005 PHILIPPINES
    Peace between Moro rebels and government near




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