Monday, January 14, 2013

Abu Sayyaf Understudies and Crowd Scenes

Speaking to reporters over a fortnight after the predominately Christian town of Ipil in the southern Philippines had been savagely assaulted on April 4, 1995, the military spokesperson, Maj. Gen. Edgardo Batenga took what until then had been a weakly unverified attribution of responsibility for the crime tagging the militant Islamic group "Abu Sayyaf,"  and instead came out with some amazingly specific data that placed the perpetration squarely on the shoulders of the so-called Abu Sayyaf---albeit with a little help from their separatist friends

Euphemistically referring to a factionalized Muslim separatist movement by its place names, Batenga added that "other armed groups that reinforced the Basilan based Muslim extremist group that attacked Ipil are breakaway factions of the mainstream Moro National Liberation Front."

The group identity "Abu Sayyaf" had only been created in 1991 as a "breakaway faction" of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, which itself had broken away from the dominating Muslim separatist movement, the
Moro National Liberation Front  during earlier peace plan agreements. The rebonding the general describes belies a group identity based on ideological differences, and instead describes a public identity based on perceived behavior

Here is how Rudy Saavedra writing in the Manila Standard on April 21, 1995, transmitted the General's breakdown :

227 raiders
The Southcom chief said there were 227 raiders, 107 of whom cam from Basilan Province under Anwar Mohamad; 55 from Sulu under Commander Polaili Sualbi; 16 from Pangian, Sibuco, Zamboanga del Norte led by Commander Husin Inok; 15 from Sacol island, Zamboanga under Badding Badiri and 23 from Tungawan, Zamboanga del Sur under Atip Nieto and Jimlan Salvador.

Separatists Arriving Separately

How anyone could establish a specific overall number for the participants of a multi-pronged assault who had arrived by both land and sea, in an attack whose multiple individual encounters ranged over several square downtown blocks is farcical to imagine. At no time did the attackers assemble to parade as a phalanx while whistling A Bridge Over the River Kwai, letting observers count them in rows across and down.

Too Much, Too Late

Instead, perhaps Batenga's precise accounting for the attack is evidence that developed intelligence sources allowed him to become privy to the advance planning information or documents, but this would only reinforce the impression that such knowledge had come after-the-fact. In a real-world intelligence scenario all it would have taken was for one out of the 226 participants (someone's addition is off by one) to have given advance notice of the impending attack for the town to have arranged for some sort of defense

At best, the Abu Sayyaf was a very loosely structured group which didn't display a "close organizational relationship" within itself, let alone with any former comrades of questionable loyalty, individuals who remained at all times economic, if not ideological, competitors. For instance, when the millions of dollars in cash ransom from the Sipadan kidnappings actually arrived in 2000, it led to infighting amongst the Abu Sayyaf with collegial gunfire that killed almost two dozen men

The "tactical alliance" that General Batenga wants us to believe took place to effect a savage attack that promised more onus than glory, could only have occurred within a disciplined hierarchical structure alien to the culture of offshoots or banditry.

"Nom de Guerre"

And then there are those stage names! I've collected over 8,000 news articles on the larger subject of the Abu Sayyaf and I knew I'd never encountered any of these names---even before a collective big red statement by spellchecker.

A search on Google bore this out. With three of the names, "Commander Polaili Sualbi"" (A dish of creamed rice, or Polish sausage?), "Commander Husin Inok" (Knock-Knock? Who's there?), and "Badding Badiri" (Bedding the Barfly? Bats in the belfry?) Google did not return a single result:


"Atip Nieto" returned one significant result, which described him as being a "prominent member" of the Moro National Liberation Front (the original source is in French, but below is the Google English translation.) However, that is not at all the same thing as being a former, disaffected, "breakaway," or "Lost Command" leader from the MNLF, whom General Batenga describes as joining in with the Abu Sayyaf in attacking Ipil:

Mindanao: a terrorist attack resulted in dozens of deaths in the town of Ipil  [EDA Bulletin No. 197]


On 4 April 1995, at midday, about 200 armed men stormed the headquarters of the police and military installations of the town of Ipil, Zamboanga del Sur province in Mindanao. The attack left 46 dead and 47 wounded. Five people were missing and forty were taken hostage the police chief and the commander of the infantry battalion of Ipil are among those killed. The attackers stormed banks downtown, set fire to shops and commercial buildings, a cinema and government offices. According to a radio message Hongkong, April 7, terrorists pursued by the army have done some dozens of hostages taken by them.

Several days after the case, no organization had claimed responsibility. According to Mr. Orville Gabuna, regional director of the police, the terrorist leader could be a "commander Atip Nieto," prominent member of the Moro liberation nationale, whose son was in prison at Ipil. But others suspect the fundamentalist group Abu Sayyaf, author of numerous bombings, killings and kidnappings in the region and whose headquarters is located in the mountains of Basilan.

Archbishop Carmelo Morelos, Archbishop of Zamboaga and President of the Episcopal Conference has appealed to the"bishops, priests and laity to seek their assistance to victims of atrocities" suffered by the residents of Ipil.

The "Lost Commands" were just a nice way of describing individuals who has lost their positions within the hierarchical military structures of the MNLF and the MILF---men who had been kicked out with cause, and who'd be better described as outlaw outcasts, or better still, "common criminals."

Although the status of Atip Nieto is wrongly indicated , the descriptor perfectly fits "Commander Jimlan Salvador, an MNLF Lost Command leader," in one search return, a reference which also credits him with playing the overall leadership role:

Abu kills cop in new clash. Hostilities spread to other Mindanao Islands

By Victoria Calaguian, in Today, 16 April 1995

ZAMBOANGA CITY - Punitive operations against Moro bandits who raided Ipil, Zamboanga del Sur, almost two weeks ago were expanded as an elite police team was sent to islands around Sulu in pursuit of the raiders.

In Manila, President Ramos ordered the Philippine National Police yesterday to "isolate and crush the Abu Sayyaf bandits" by eliminating their access to their foreign terrorist supporters.

Reports reaching the Southern Command headquarters here said that so far a policeman had been killed in an encounter with bandits on Pata Island, Sulu, last Friday.

The identity of the slain policeman was not revealed until his next of kin has been notified. Military authorities said he was assigned to the elite Regional Special Action force.

According to reports, sporadic gun battles were still going on last night between the rebels and government forces.

Maj. Gen. Edgardo Batenga, Southcom chief, said pursuit operations against the joint Abu Sayyaf-Moro National Liberation Front fighters who remained in the Zamboanga peninsula after the Ipil raid are still going on.

However, reports said government forces are having a hard time tracking down the bandits. Sources said Commander Jimlan Salvador, an MNLF Lost Command leader who has taken the leadership of the joint MNLF-Abu Sayyaf group, is from Tungawan, Zamboanga del Sur, and residents in the area have been giving the raiders sanctuary.

Batenga said another hostage, Gilbert Emperado, 16, has escaped. The bandits now have only 14 hostages, including Jocelyn Ortega, an engineer.

Of the original 50 hostages, six were killed, and 30 have escaped.

Residents here doubt whether Abu Sayyaf members or even MNLF guerillas perpetuated the Ipil raid.

Random interviews conducted by TODAY show that many of the people here believe that it may have been a military group or at least a military or police supported group that raided Ipil.

If the raiders were Muslims, the residents said, the banks in Ipil would not have been robbed and people would not have been shot indiscriminately.

However, Batenga said some residents here started believing the disinformation being spread by groups sympathetic to the Abu Sayyaf and the MNLF.

"The military and the police have no motive to raid and burn Ipil and indiscriminately kill its residents," Batenga told TODAY.

Ramos issued the directive after receiving a report from Gen. Recaredo Sarmiento, Philippine National Police Chief, who told the president that a captured Abu Sayyaf member confirmed the group's links with the group of international terrorist Ramzi Ahmad Yousef.

Edwin Angeles said in a signed affidavit that Yousef, who is believe to be the mastermind in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center in New York, had met several times with the Abu Sayyaf.

Angeles also revealed that the Abu Sayyaf, supported by international terrorists, was responsible for at least 10 bombings of commercial and military establishments in the South and in Metro Manila.


March 30, 1995, Filipino Reporter, Abu Sayyaf top guns are captured, by Marilyn Abalos, 461 words Diigo,

The Philippine National Police (PNP) announced the capture of several top leaders of the notorious Abu Sayyaf group led by the younger brother of Abu Sayyaf chieftain Ustadz Abubakar Abdulrajak Janjalani.

In a press conference held at Camp Crame, Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Rafael Alunan III identified those arrested by combined police and Marine agents as Khadaffi Monato Janjalani, younger brother of Ustadz Abubakar; Juvenal Bruno aka Jove Bruno, reportedly the No. 2 man of the Abu Sayyaf group in Sulu; Yasin Sali Ibno Kamar, finance officer and brother-in-law of Abu Sayyaf chieftain Janjalani, Benfar Nurani, Edris Jal and Balling Samlah.

According to Alunan, the six ranking Abu Sayyaf were intercepted last March 1 at the Marine checkpoint at Tagbak, Indanan, Sulu by the elements of the 2nd Marine brigade headed by Col. Ponciano Millena.

Alunan added that the six were arrested after the release of the five government surveyors of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) last Feb. 28 in Sumisip, Basilan.

Alunan said that the five government surveyors were released unharmed by their abductors through the negotiation efforts of both Sulu Gov. Tupay Loong and former Rep. Sakur Tan of Sulu.

The arrested Abu Sayyaf members were presented to media as Secretary Alunan said that cases of kidnapping with ransom will be filed against them in Sulu.

Also, PNP chief Director-General Recaredo Sarmiento announced the formal surrender of Edwin Angeles, Abu Sayyaf chief or operations and political affairs officer and five of his followers with several high powered firearms last Feb. 21, in Jolo, Sulu.

Sarmiento said that the surrender of Angeles, who is listed in top 20 most wanted persons in the PNP order of battle, was made possible through the efforts of ex-Rep. Tan in close coordination with the PNP.


He was Khadaffi "Monato" Janjalani, at the time of his arrest in 1995 (Monato being his mother's maiden name) but this changes at some point to Khadafi "Abubakar" Janjalani, and this certainly becomes official by the time the U.S. indictment was handed down on July 23, 2002 listing him as such. See: July 25, 2002, Reuters / The China Post, RP will try Abu Sayyaf guerrillasDiigo,
U.S. Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson said in Washington on Tuesday a federal grand jury had handed down a five-count indictment against five guerrilla leaders alleged to have masterminded the May 2001 kidnapping of three Americans and 17 others in the Philippines. 
Death for Abu Sayyaf 
If the defendants were caught, taken to the United States to stand trial and convicted, they could face the death penalty on four of the five counts, U.S. Justice Department officials said.

"Abubakar," or its approximate, was the middle name of Khadaffi's brother, the founder of the Abu Sayyaf, Aburajak Abubakr Janjalani. See:

August 9, 2000, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Bin Laden funds Abu Sayyaf through Muslim relief group, Pt.1, Christine Herrera,
Original Abu
The original Abu Sayyaf was headed by  and another faction was led by Galib Andang, aka Commander Robot, who broke away from the Moro National Liberation Front after the formation of the Southern Philippines Council for Peace and Development under former Moro National Liberation Front chief Nur Misuari.
Anzar said Bin Laden and Khalifa financed the urban warfare and terrorism training in Libya of their recruits to the Abu Sayyaf, including Janjalani and Edwin Angeles, the founding Abu Sayyaf vice commander and intelligence chief.

Team: Three individual Marines assigned to a specific team.

Squad: Three Teams are assigned to a specific squad.

Platoon: Three squads are usually assigned to a specific platoon.

Company (or Battery): Three platoons are assigned to a Company (sometimes called a battery). The Company/battery is the lowest level of command with a headquarters element (example, a Company Commander, or Company First Sergeant). 81

Battalion: Three companies/batteries are assigned to form a battery a batallion. 243

Regiment: Three battalions form a Regiment (Sometimes called a Brigade).

Division: Three Brigades are assigned to make up a Division.

Marine Corps: Three or more divisions make up the Marine Corps.



Abu Sayyaf guerillas behind numerous Mindanao murders

By: Felino M. Santos/Philippine News Agency
As reprinted from The Manila Times dtd 18,19 & 20, 2002
ZAMBOANGA CITY - The extremist Abu Sayyaf based in Basilan and Sulu, has left a bloody trails of bombings, murder, rapes, extortion and kidnappings on the past 10 years.
A list compiled by the Combined Information Bureau (CIB) of the RP-US Balikatan shows some 90 incidents.
The CIB document and files from the Philippine New Agency (PNA) in Zamboanga shows the extremist group as the most brutal murderous and beastly gang to operate in Mindanao.
PNA-CIB files showed that for a period of over 10 years , the extremist group has been responsible for 18 bombing/grenade attacks, which left scores of people dead or crippled.
In about 20 incidents of murder or deliberate beheading of the victims, the files list some 60 victims.
About 50 kidnapping incidents are also in the list with the victims reaching nearly 200. some of the incidents never even made it to the military files.


The extremist Abu Sayyaf first hit the scene by bombing the cultural (farewell) night of the floating bookship the M/V Doulos in Zamboanga in the first week of August 1991. Two foreign crew were killed.
Other previous incidents of violence had always been blamed on the Moro National Liberation Front. But shortly after the Doulos attack someone called up a radio station and acknowledged responsibility on behalf of the Abu Sayyaf, saying it was a punishment for the sale of the Christian books.
Three months later, three movie houses were bombed. Projector operator died. Again the Abu Sayyaf claimed responsibility, claiming the theaters were showing "obscene films."
On Aug 12, 1992, unidentified men exploded bombs or lobbed grenades at hundreds of people who were at the Fort Pilar Shrine in Zamboanga City, killing three children and injuring 39 others.

Grissly record

The other bombing incidents in the region include:
July 26, 1992- Bombing of the old public market in Zamboanga City resulting in the wounding of several people.
Aug13, 1992 - Bombing of the Mount Carmel Church in Jolo, Sulu that wounded one person.
July 31, 1993- Bombing in Isabela, Basilan which resulted in the wounding of several persons.
Aug 1, 1993 - Bombings in Zamboanga City old public market that left 13 people injured.
May 25, 1996 - Bombing at Barangay Sengal, Lamitan. No casualty was reported.
April 11, 1998- Bombing on Roxas St., Isabela, Basilan.
Jan 13, 1999-Grenade explosion inside Gurrea Store in Maluso, Basilan. No one was injured.
Jan 24, 1999-Grenade explosion which resulted to eight civilians while members of the Miracle Crusade were conducting prayer in Maluso, Basilan.
Sept 14, 1998-Bombing of the 2nd Floor of Southern Mindanao College, Pagadian City.
July 30, 2001 - Grenade throwing at the Mt Carmel Cathedral in Jolo, Sulu.
Ferocious is an apt description for the Abu Sayyaf. The first cold-blooded murder claimed by the Abu Sayyaf was the May 11, 1992 killing of Italian priest Fr. Salvatorre Carzedda in Zamboanga City.
At dawn of Sept 21, 1992- unidentified men lobbed a grenade inside the Religious Radio Station DXMS at Tugbungan, Zamboanga City, killing Pastor Greg Hapalla and two student friends of the reverend.
On Dec 28, 2002 Rev. Benjamin Inocencio, parish priest of Jolo, was riding a jeep with his driver when an unidentified men fired at him pointblank, killing him on the spot and seriously wounding his driver Domingo Pamah.
Another notable murder victim was Fr. Rhoel Gallardo kidnapped lat March 20, 2002 at Tumahubong, Basilan who along with four others were murdered after being tortured on May, 2001. The priest's killers belong to the same extremist which are holding American missionary couple Martin and Grace Burnham kidnapped from Dos Palmas, Palawan last May 27, 2001.
Before the murder of Gallardo, the kidnappers also beheaded two teacher hostages, companions of the kidnapped priests on April 29, 2000.
To stress their demands for foreign negotiators to free the Dos Palmas Palawan hostage taken captive last May 27, 2001, the extremist beheaded two of their hostages; namely Sonny Daquer and Armando Bayona on June 3, 2001. Bayona is said to be a nephew of Radio Mindanao Network DXRZ manager Rey Bayonging, the radio station linked to the extremists.
And on June 12, 2001, Aldam Tillao alias Abu Sabaya announced the beheading of American hostage Guillermo Sobero as an "Independence Day gift" to the government.
On June 22, 2001- They beheaded Golden Harvest hostages Primitivo Falcassantos and Crisanto Suelo.
The Abu Sayyaf, however, has raised kidnapping for ransom to a fine art, with a wide range of victims.
Feb 10, 1993- Luis Anthony Biel Sr., his grandson and a house boy in Isabela, Basilan.
March 18, 1993- Spanish priest Fr. Bernardo Blanco in Isabela, Basilan.
April 7, 1993- A certain Maing and an unidentified woman in Maluso, Basilan.
Aug 1, 1993 - Fourteen civilians in Isabela, Basilan.
Aug 5, 1993- Businessman Ricardo Tong in Zamboanga City.
Nov 14, 1993-Summer Institute of Linguistics Personnel Charles Walton in Pangataran, Sulu.
March 7, 1994- Five teachers in Basilan.
March 17, 1994- Carol Ong in Zamboanga City.
July 24, 1994- Father Clarence Bertelsmann, kidnapped after saying Mass at Camp Asturias Chapel, Sulu. Rescued hours later as kidnap group tried to shoot it out with MNLF at checkpoint at Sitio Bauno, Brgy Tagbag, Indanan,
Sept 14, 1994-National Irrigation employees, Rolando Rizon, Nicolas Antequina and Rebecca Dipay kidnapped in their bunkhouse at Piakan, Sirawai, Zamboanga del Norte by the group of Jimlan Salvador. Rizon died a week later from diabetic complications. Antequina and Dipay were released in Curuan Island, Zamboanga City.
May 14, 1996- Bobong Matiaong and Jose Salvacion, farmers in Barangay Maggas, Lantawan, Basilan,kidnapped and executed
May 16, 1996- A certain Mrs Salvacion in Lantawan, Basilan.
Aug 15, 1996-a grandson of Basilan Congressman Candu Muarip.
July 6, 1997 - Kidnapping/killing of Raquel Calipis, her daughter and Jerry Rodrigo at Brgy Banker, Kabasalan, Zamboanga del sur.
July 9, 1997- Floriano Bucoy Jr. at Peninsula Hotel, Pagadian City.
Aug 10, 1997- Kidnapping of Malina Saha at Brgy Badja, Tipo-Tipo, Basilan.
Aug 26, 1997- Pong Heronimo, employee of SPDA at Panigaya, Isabela, Basilan.
Sept 9, 1997- Robert Beush, general manager of the Mar Fishing Tuna Canning Factory in Caragasan, Zamboanga City.
Nov 13, 1997- Efifania Sotito, Max Sotito and Sano, Jiji Patris, Jong Jong Patris, at Upper Maluso, Basilan.
Nov 14, 1997- Barangay Captain Arsenio Anradis Caong at Igat Island, Margosatubig, Zamboanga del Sur.
March 22, 1998- Cpl Jonarie Magtiza MP while riding Tamaraw passenger jeep in Bilaan, Talipao, Sulu.
April 17, 1998- Romeo Buenbrazo, Avelino Bucon and Mario Pioquinto in Barangay Tubigan, Maluso, Basilan.
Sept 7, 1998- Raymond Chua, in Barangay Diki, Malamawi, Isabela, Basilan.
Sept 28, 1998- Michael Diaz in Sta Cruz, Kabasalan, Zamboanga del Sur.
Nov 12, 1998- Noemi Sangkula, a teacher in Lower Banas Elementary school in Basilan.
March 21, 1999- Luis Toh in Margosatubig, Zamboanga del sur.
June 19, 1999- Leiven dela Marche and journalist Eric Bracke who were on the way to a picnic at the Santa Cruz Island, Zamboanga City.
Aug 31, 1999- Wilmary Furigay in Lamitan, Basilan.
Sept 30, 1999- Modesto Natividad in Manixahan, Zamboanga City.
Feb 15, 2000- Andy Amante, bookkeeper of Phil Federacion for Natural Family Planning by the group of Galib Andang.
March 9, 2000- Two teachers at Islamiya Elementary School in Cabahay, Zamboanga City.
March 20, 2000- Fr Roel Gallardo, teachers and students at Tumahubong Claret High School and Sinangcapan National High School in Tuburan, Basilan Province.
April 24, 2000- Twenty one foreigners at Sipadan Beach Resort, Sabah, Malaysia by the group of Andang, Susukan, Janjalani and Sabaya.
July 1, 2000- Andreas Lorenz, a German correspondent for DER Spiegel Magazine, at Kasalamatan Village, Jolo, Sulu.
July 1, 2000- Thirteen (13) Jesus Miracle Crusade (JMC) religious led by Evangelist Wilde Almeda at Indanan, sulu.
July 10, 2000-Two French journalist connected with French TV
July 24, 2000-ABS-CBN correspondent Maan Cuenca and Val Cuenca
Aug 1, 2000- Samuel Ramillano, Reynante dela Cruz and Nelson Habiba were abducted by the ASG at Sitio Buhangin, Barangay Darayan, Patikul, Sulu.
Aug 31, 2000- Jeffrey Schilling.
Sept 10, 2000- Three (3) unidentified persons at Pasil Diving Resort, Pandanan Island, Sempurnah, Malaysia.
Feb 21, 2001- Norhaina Daud- daughter of Mayor Mayor Tapul Danny Daud.
April 24, 2001- Nuhon Undali from Jolo, Sulu.
May 27, 2001- Three Americans and 17 Filipinos at Dos Palmas Island resort, Puerto Princesa, Palawan.
June 2, 2001- Four Hospital employees at Dr. Jose Maria Torres in Lamitan, Basilan.
June 11, 2001- Abduction of 50 persons at Golden Harvest Plantation in Tairan, Lantawan, Basilan.
June 13, 2001- attack of the municipal hall of Lantawan, Basilan.
Aug 2, 2001- Thirty two villagers of Sitio Baguniao, Barangays Balobo, Lamitan, Basilan, Province. Of the 32 victims, 10 males were hacked to death and a female victim confessed she was raped in front of her four-year-old daughter, by her abductors.


Oct 27th, 2011, Xinhua / Tempo, Gov't not to allow false reports to undermine peace process, Diigo,

MANILA, Philippines (Xinhua) — The Philippine government clarified Wednesday that the 5 million pesos (116,000 U.S. dollars) that President Benigno Aquino III gave to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) was intended to jumpstart the Bangsamoro Leadership and Management Institute (BLMI), dismissing news reports that the fund was used by the rebels to buy guns and ammunition.

"The 5 million pesos is a commitment made by the previous administration. It is intended to fast-track the establishment of the institute," government chief negotiator Marvic Leonen explained.

Leonen said the government would remain steadfast in finding a peaceful solution to the armed conflict.

"We will not let false reports undermine the peace process. I urge the public to stay heedful of what is happening and analytical of the information that they receive," he underscored.

The Bangsamoro Leadership and Management Institute is a training center for Bangsamoro leaders and managers who will be serving their communities in the future.

Leonen said he handed the 5-million peso check to MILF chair Al Haj Murad Ibrahim during the parties' last round of formal exploratory talks on Aug. 22-23 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. This was announced during the Aug. 23 press conference held by the government panel following the meeting in the Malaysian capital.

Leonen related that the establishment of The Bangsamoro Leadership and Management Institute was discussed during negotiations at the 10th Formal Exploratory Talks in February, 2006. It was finalized and formally agreed upon during the 14th formal exploratory talks held on Nov. 14-15, 2007, with funding commitment from the Philippine Government to jumpstart the institute’s operations.

He added that Aquino approved the appropriation for the institute during the consultation with the panel early this year.

"During his one-on-one meeting with MILF chair Murad in Tokyo last August 5, the president again expressed his support to the BLMI. He then instructed the peace panel to hand the check to the Moro group," said Leonen.

Calls for an all-out war were made by various sectors after 19 government soldiers were killed in a bloody clash in the southern Philippine province of Basilan last week.

The MILF has been fighting government troops for decades to establish a self-rule Muslim sub-state in the south of the predominantly Catholic country. Peace talks between the government and the MILF stalled in August 2008 following the aborted signing of the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain. A final peace deal with the government will touch the issues of autonomy and the civil settlement of the rebel group’s 11,800-strong guerrilla fighters.


April 21, 1995, Manila Standard, page A3, Most of Sayyaf men back in home bases, says AFP, by Rudy Saavedra,

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