1,000 more troops deployed to Mindanao amid kidnaps

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The Armed Forces of the Philippines dispatched an estimated 1,000-plus extra soldiers to the troubled South on Sunday to strengthen security after Islamic militants threatened to kill one of two German hostages.

A military statement said an Army brigade, a unit that usually comprises between 800 to 1,500 troops, was flown to Sulu where the Abu Sayyaf militants are believed to be holding the two German tourists.

Two other Army battalions, meanwhile, deployed in nearby southern areas, it added.

“This is a redeployment that is part of an ongoing plan, which is anchored on our mandate to address internal and external security situations,” the statement said without elaborating.


The reinforcements will allow Philippine Marines who have been fighting the Abu Sayyaf in Sulu as well as in Basilan, another southern island, “to concentrate on their main tasks,” northern Philippines military spokesman Maj. Calixto Cadano said.

He declined to disclose the exact number of troops sent to the Mindano, citing operational security. One of the smaller units was flown to the South on Saturday, Cadano said.

The statement said all three units that were sent to the South had come from northern Philippines where security officials said a long-running communist insurgency has largely petered out.

Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin announced on Friday that, to “stop the Abu Sayyaf once and for all,” Army troops will be dispatched to Sulu to help the Marines there.

Gazmin said the Philippines will not negotiate with the Abu Sayyaf over its demands for about $5.62 million in ransom for the Germans.

He downplayed alleged links between the group, which is blamed for the Philippines’ worst terror attacks, to Islamic State jihadists fighting in Iraq and Syria.

The Abu Sayyaf threatened to kill one of the two German hostages unless a ransom is paid and Berlin halts its support for the US-led campaign against the IS group.

It is believed to be currently holding several other hostages, including two European birdwatchers abducted in February 2012.

Since July, the Abu Sayyaf has uploaded videos online proclaiming its allegiance to the Islamic State group, which has taken control of large parts of Iraq and Syria.

AFP

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1 Comment

  1. Its a real shame this awesome country can’t manage this better. Too little too late i think.
    I mean just imagine how this country would be if it had no more of this rubbish, they need to focus on resolving this NOW !
    FIx it once and for all with fines punishable by death for anyone proven to be linked to these horrible crimes, whatever they are pedophilia kidnapping, rape, if you are caught then so be it.
    Then once this is in place they need real tourism marketing, some real marketing to change the perception of a PI being a sorted and dangerous corrupt country.
    They managed to do this this in Malaysia and Singapore, and even Thailand to some extent, so why are we still 30 years behind others in the region ?

    While other countries are blessed with all the financial benefits from an abundance of tourists all we have here is a few idiots that put this place on par with some of the more horrible African or Arab countries.

    Why should tourist come here only to be scammed by officials, to be at real risk of taken hostage. Philippinos too scared to talk and look the other way. This is why tourists prefer to travel to other countries in S.E Asia. Its a shame …. a real shame that this continues but I only hope that PEOPLE do complain, this is not good enough and is bringing this country down in so many ways, and keeping it down….
    Stand up people, be proud that you have a wonderful country that CAN BE FIXED !