Monday, May 16, 2005

Philippine Soldiers Slay 7 Sayyaf Militants

Soldiers killed seven members of the Al Qaeda linked Abu Sayyaf Muslim extremist group in a clash on the southern Philippine island of Jolo, military officials said. “All the dead bandits have been accounted for and their weapons are with us,” said Brigadier General Alexander Aleo, head of an anti-terror task force on the island. Two Marines were also wounded in the clash, Aleo said. Four M203 rifles were recovered from the slain Abu Sayyaf members. Among the seven fatalities was Mihadon Arok. The military has implicated Arok’s group in the 2000 kidnapping of 21 Western tourists and Malaysian and Filipino resort workers from Sipadan island off Sabah. An undetermined number of Abu Sayyaf were also wounded in the battle, said Colonel Juancho Sabban, head of the Marine force on the island. A Marine reconnaissance force crept up on the camp led by commander Radulan Sahiron in the jungles of Patikul town, said Sabban. “Many of them were still sleeping and were caught by surprise by our attacking special operation team,” Sabban added. The attack was part of continuing operations against Sahiron’s group which had stepped up its attacks on government forces in February. The Abu Sayyaf has been linked by both Washington and Manila to the Al Qaeda terror network led by Osama bin Laden. Meanwhile, Philippine police have arrested one of the suspects in the killing of a newspaper publisher earlier this week as the government ordered intensified manhunt for the killers of journalists. A combined force of the Philippine National Police and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) captured one of the suspects in the killing of newspaper publisher Philip Agustin in Dingalan, Aurora, northern Philippines, reported the local radio DZMM yesterday. Arrested was Reynaldo Morete, brother of Boyet Morete who allegedly gunned down Agustin inside his daughter's house. NBI agent Teddy Roque said Reynalso allegedly acted as the lookout during the attack.
A girl staring at a member of the Philippine Navy's anti-terrorism elite force