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04-19-2007, 05:47
Esperon orders troops:Find Malik before polls

By Anthony Vargas, Reporter

THE military chief on Wednesday has ordered troops in Sulu to capture a rogue Moro National Liberation Front chieftain before the midterm elections on May 14.

The Armed Forces chief of staff, Gen. Hermogenes Espe*ron Jr., said Ustadz Habier Malik, must be captured at the soonest possible time.

The AFP Public Information chief, Lt. Col. Bartolome Ba*carro, said the AFP brass is concerned that continued offensive in Sulu might affect the elections in Sulu.

Esperon “wants the pursuit operations against Malik finished as soon as possible,” Bacarro told reporters during a briefing in Camp Aguinaldo.

The AFP wants Malik to answer for the mortar attacks on the Panamao town hall and a marine detachment over the weekend.

The attacks, in which two Marines and one civilian were killed, have triggered heavy fighting in Sulu with government troops overrunning two of Malik’s camp.

The fighting, which started Friday night, also killed eight of Malik’s fighters and the wounding of scores of others.

“We do believe that we have the upperhand . . . we will keep the momentum in tracking down Malik. The AFP will pursue his group,” Bacarro said.

Malik is believed to have retreated to eastern Sulu where he has strongholds in the mountains of Bitan-Ag in Panamao.

Bacarro rejected Malik’s claim the mortar attacks were in retaliation for the military’s encounter with the forces of MNLF Commander Kaid Ajibon in Marang early last week.

“Malik’s claim is unfounded . . . the area which he is referring has an air distance of 31 kilometers from his camp . . . and that was coordinated with the MNLF,” Bacarro said.

He said that what their troops engaged in Marang were the groups of Abu Sayyaf sub-commanders, Radulan Sahiron and Doctor Abu.

Bacarro said the MNLF guerrillas under Ajibon left the area on their own to avoid a misencounter with government troops.

Well, Well, Well. Udstadz Malik is at it again. He needs to go away.

04-19-2007, 05:54
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Sayyaf demands P5-M ransom for release of 7 hostages
By Bong Garcia

ZAMBOANGA CITY -- Abductors, believed to be members of the al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf group, are demanding a P5 million ransom in exchange for the safe release of the six construction workers and a fish-drier-laborer they seized in the hinterland of Sulu.

The six workers, who are employed with the construction firm of Sulu Governor Benjamin Loong, were seized around 9 a.m. on Monday in the town of Parang by the group of Albader Parad, a mid-level Abu Sayyaf leader.

Pinoy Votes: Sun.Star Election 2007 Coverage

Parad's group also seized the fish-drier-laborer identified as Crisanto Patrocenio. The victim was taken from a passenger jeep blocked by Parad's group in the same town.

Loong said the information about the ransom demand was relayed to him by his construction supervisor. The demand was sent through text message by the victims to their foreman.

Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Armm) Police Director Joel Goltiao said he also received information about the ransom demand.

Goltiao said he ordered to check the authenticity of the information.

The six construction workers were identified as Nonoy Ampoy, Roger Francisco, Loi Teodoro, Toto Nillas, Dennis delos Reyes and Wilmer Santos -- all from Zamboanga City.

Loong called on the kidnappers to free all the seven victims unharmed, saying he will not pay ransom in exchange for the release of the hostages.

Aside from the hostages, Parad's group also took the dump truck the construction workers were riding when they were seized.

They are working on the Silangkan-Parang road-concreting project, the reason why they are in the area.

Goltiao said they are now tracking the whereabouts of the kidnappers and the victims to work out for the release of the hostages.

Parad is among those wanted for kidnapping by the government.

He was involved in the mass kidnapping in 2000 wherein 21 people, composed of Europeans and Asians, were seized from Sipadan, Malaysia.

The Anti-Terrorism Task Force has set a US$ 15,000 bounty for the neutralization of Parad.

Loong said it was unclear whether the kidnappings were intended to divert troops who are hunting for Muslim rebel commander Habier Malik and his men from the Moro National Liberation Front. Malik was blamed for deadly mortar attacks in Jolo last week.

Military chief Gen. Hermogenes Esperon said Malik has provided sanctuary to Abu Sayyaf guerrillas and Indonesian militants who have been targeted by the U.S.-backed offensive, which resulted in the killing of Abu Sayyaf chieftain Khaddafy Janjalani last year and his presumed successor, Abu Sulaiman, in January.

An estimated 300 to 400 Abu Sayyaf gunmen remain at large on Jolo, about 950 kilometers (590 miles) south of Manila.

Washington has blacklisted the Abu Sayyaf as a terrorist group and has offered large rewards for the capture of its top commanders. (with reports from AP/Sunnex)

06-13-2007, 11:41
Friday, April 20, 2007
No more pursuit operations against Malik: military
By Ulysses E. Israel

THE Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) shifted its military tactics from that of aggressive pursuit operations against Moro rebel leader Ustadz Habier Malik to that of defensive stance, a top regional military commander said Thursday.

Lieutenant General Eugenio Cedo, chief of the Western Mindanao Command, told reporters the orders given to him by AFP chief General Hermogenes Esperon is: "To occupy Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) camp in Bitan-ag, take defensive stance and no more pursuit operations against Malik."

The order to stop pursuing Malik was seen as a major shift from the earlier announced orders by Esperon to hunt down the renegade MNLF commander.

The conflict has caused concern that it could trigger widespread clashes that could jeopardize the fragile peace settlement between the government and the MNLF, which signed a Peace Accord in 1996.

But when Cedo was pressed to answer why the sudden change, he said: "The priority of the military is to pursue the high valued targets in Mindanao."

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo earlier ordered the military to go after Malik following the mortar attacks against a military detachment and town hall in Panamao, Sulu launched by Malik and his men, which left two Marine soldiers and a child killed.

The 57-nation Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) has appealed to the military and the MNLF to stop the fighting.

Lawmakers from Mindanao Senator Aquilino Pimentel and Representative Douglas Cagas of Davao del Sur also asked the government to resolve the conflict outside military action.

Also, Jimmy Labuan, MNLF vice chairman has voiced the willingness of the MNLF to discuss how to avert future clashes if a tripartite meeting will be held under the auspices of the OIC.

Labuan said MNLF would thresh out with the government ways on how future clashes could be prevented but always stressed that OIC should play as mediator in any negotiation.

Funny how policy can change in a day. I did a little open source home work, nothing significant to report on this. Guess the ass clown is still running scared.

07-24-2007, 10:34
Things have heated up again over the past two weeks with the gun-fight and subsequent be-headings of the marines in Jolo....

Anyone got a head's up on safety over in Mindano and Zambonga? I am planning on taking a ferry across there from Sandakan at the end of the month..