Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Backup to Thugburg

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April 11, 2006, INQ7, 2 Abu Sayyaf killed, 4 captured in Zamboanga clash, by Joel Francis Guinto, Julie Alipala,

(2nd UPDATE) ZAMBOANGA -- An Abu Sayyaf leader blamed for the killing of a US soldier and a string of bombings in the southern Philippines, was killed early Tuesday, along with a relative, and four others were captured during a clash with government troops in a village here, the military said.

Amilhamja Ajijul alias "Alex Alvarez," a sub-commander of the Al Qaeda-linked group, fought joint forces from the elite Scout Rangers and military intelligence east of Zamboanga, about 860 kilometers (530 miles) south of Manila, at about 3 a.m., according to Colonel Edgardo Gidaya of Task Force Zamboanga.

Ajijul, who was badly injured in the encounter, died at the Kinipot District Hospital. Also killed in the encounter was a certain Andalul Ajijul, Gidaya said. There were no reports of government casualties.

Gidaya said four other suspects were arrested and interrogated, and soldiers recovered two .45-caliber handguns, a machete, mobile phones, and documents.Gidaya described Ajijul as the head of an Abu Sayyaf unit engaged in "urban terrorism."

The official said Ajijul, with a 20,000 dollar-bounty on his head, was wanted for the bombing of two shopping malls in Zamboanga in 2002 that claimed several lives, as well as the 2000 kidnapping of 53 students and teachers at a Roman Catholic school from nearby Basilan Island.

Gidaya said Ajijul was also the principal suspect in the 2002 bombing of a Zamboanga restaurant that killed a US soldier taking part in counter-terrorist joint military exercises.

"This is a big blow to the Abu Sayyaf," Gidaya said. "We had received a report that they were planning something this Holy Week," he added without elaborating.

The Abu Sayyaf, thought to number some 500 militants, has been blamed for the worst terrorist attacks in the Philippines, including the firebombing of a passenger ferry on Manila Bay that claimed more than 100 lives, and the kidnappings of Western tourists that led to the deaths of two American captives in 2001 and 2002.

US and Filipino intelligence officials have linked the Abu Sayyaf group to the Al-Qaeda network of Osama bin Laden.

US Special Forces units have deployed in the southern Philippines in recent years to train Filipino troops fighting the Abu Sayyaf.

($1 = P51.210)

With reports from AP, AFP

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Aug 11, 2004, Inquirer News Service, Protests to mark end of RP-US war games in North Cotabato, by Germelina Lacorte, 

DAVAO CITY, Manila Metropolitan Area, Philippines -- Protest actions will mark the end of the Balance Piston exercises in North Cotabato on Friday, a spokesman for the militant group Bayan said Wednesday.
Frankie del Rosario said the group would hold a Mindanao-wide peace caravan as a send off to the US troops whose three-week military exercises, dubbed as Balance Piston 03-04, in Carmen town would end.
The caravan will be composed of Bayan’s allied groups from as far as the province of Lanao and Marawi City -- two places that Del Rosario claimed were earlier eyed as the next Balikatan site.
Groups coming from the provinces of Zamboanga, General Santos, and Davao and the neighboring towns of Pikit and Pagalungan, where thousands of people have been displaced by war, will also join the protest action, he said.
They will set up camp in Kidapawan City on Thursday, and then move to Carmen.

December 4, 2004, Inquirer News Service, 8 Ecleo cult members with high-powered guns nabbed, by Jhunnex Napallacan,

CEBU CITY, Cebu, Philippines -- Eight members of the Philippine Benevolent Missionaries Association (PBMA), the cult group headed by Ruben Ecleo Jr., was intercepted in Lapulapu City on Friday night while carrying high-powered firearms on board a van.The seized items included an M16 rifle, three baby Armalites, several grenades, silencers, assorted ammunition, bonnets, fatigue uniforms and wigs.
Sr. Supt. Louie Oppus, chief of the Lapulapu police, said policemen apprehended the suspects in a checkpoint in Sitio Buaya, Barangay Mactan, Lapulapu City around 11 p.m. on Friday.
One of the suspects, Nestor Carrol, of Lapulapu City, claimed he owned the firearms that he was going to "deliver" to communist rebel leaders in Catbalogan, Samar for a price of P300,000.
PDI Visayas Bureau Inquirer News Service

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October 11, 2004,, Agence France-Presse, 5 suspected thieves killed in QC shootout, by Joel Francis Guinto,

(UPDATE) FIVE suspected members of a robbery and kidnap gang were killed following a shootout with police in Quezon City before dawn Monday, according to reports culled by
It was the third mass killing of suspected criminals by police in less than a month, Agence France-Presse said in its report. Handguns and disguises were recovered in the raid, it added.
Three of the fatalities were identified as alleged members of the Sudoy-Sudoy gang while two were said to be from the Abuyog gang, who bolted a Bulacan jail recently, Senior Superintendent Nicasio Radovan, the city's police chief, said in a live interview on GMA Network’s morning newscast “Unang Hirit.”
One gang member survived the shooting and will undergo tactical interrogation, Radovan said.
When asked if the two gangs had joined forces, Radovan said: “That's right.”
Radovan said the suspects had been under surveillance for some time.
Police tried to serve a warrant of arrest but the suspects "fought it out with our policemen," said spokeman Senor Superintendent Leopold Bataoil.
Just two days ago, police in a raid north of Manila killed three suspected robbers while six suspected members of a robbery gang were shot dead in a highway in the Philippine capital on September 27.
Bataoil said there was no relation between the deaths of the suspects, remarking "there are judgement calls our policemen did on the ground."
"We arrest when we can but we will do what is necessary to protect our policemen," he told AFP.
However Bataoil said the police would welcome any investigation into the incidents.
Originally posted at 7:57 AM

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October 12, 2004, INQ7, Army troops, NPA rebels clash in Tarlac town,

ARMY troops clashed with members of the communist New People's Army (NPA) in Pura town, Tarlac province, an army official said Tuesday.
The encounter started at 3:30 p.m. Monday, after authorities received information on the presence of about 30 rebels in barangay (village) Balite, Lieutenant Colonel Ricardo Visaya told GMA Network's “Unang Hirit” morning newscast.
There were no immediate reports of casualties, said Visaya, commander of the 69th Infantry Batallion.
The gunbattle waned at around 7 p.m. Monday, but Visaya said the rebels were still in the area.
The fighting erupted a week after Communist Party of the Philippines spokesman Gregorio “Ka Roger” Rosal warned that they would intensify their attacks against the government.

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February 6, 2005, Inquirer News Service,

CALAMBA, Laguna, Philippines -- Three mountaineers were trapped in a ravine in Mt Makiling, Los Baños. One is feared dead, Mayor Caesar Perez said Sunday.
Ranzel Bauan, who belonged to the group, sought the help of the mayor.
Marlon Ramos, Inquirer Southern Luzon Bureau

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February 6, 2005, Agence France-Presse, Abu Sayyaf member nabbed in raid,

MANILA, Manila Metropolitan Area, Philippines -- A MEMBER of the Al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf Islamic militant group was shot and captured during a gunbattle with naval intelligence officers Sunday, the military said.Agents hunting an Abu Sayyaf leader, Abdulwahid Ibrahim, exchanged gunfire after raiding a camp in a remote village in Sacol island off the southern port city of Zamboanga.
Ibrahim, a leader of the Abu Sayyaf's "urban terrorist" unit, escaped along with 20 others but one member was wounded and arrested, the military said.
There were no casualties on the government side.
The Abu Sayyaf has been blamed for a rash of kidnappings targeting foreigners and for bomb attacks in recent years.
It is regarded as a terrorist organization by the Philippines and the United States with links to Osama Bin Laden's Al-Qaeda network.
Last year, the group claimed responsibility for a bomb attack that triggered a fire on a passenger ferry on Manila Bay, killing over 100.

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August 31, 2005, INQ7, 22 hurt as police disperse pro-impeachment militants, by Joel Francis Guinto,

(UPDATE) TWENTY-TWO protesters, including three children, were injured after police forcibly dispersed a picket line outside the House of Representatives complex in Quezon City on Wednesday, police said.The ruckus erupted at around 2:30 p.m. when pro-impeachment protesters from militant party-list groups Sanlakas and Akbayan camped at the gate and refused to heed a police dispersal order.
Earlier, House security personnel dragged several militants out of the session hall at the House of Representatives after they disrupted the proceedings, following an appeal to colleagues by a pro-impeachment lawmaker to support the amended impeachment complaint against President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Crowd dispersal policemen hit protesters with truncheons while the militants retaliated by throwing rocks.
One of the two children injured was identified as Wilmer Natural, 10. The other was identified only as Vicente, 7, a bystander who was on his way to a street side store to buy snakes.
Some of the casualties were seen with bloodied faces, arms, and legs.
“We don't know what really happened. There was a commotion,” said Superintendent Renato Valebia, the police ground commander.
“You don't have any reason to attack them,” Akbayan party list Representative Loretta Anne Rosales told Valebia. ”The police will be held responsible for this.”
The injured were brought to the East Avenue Medical Center.
At the session hall earlier, House security swiftly ejected militants who shouted “Oust GMA [Arroyo]” after Marinduque Representative Edmund Reyes delivered his speech at the resumption of the impeachment hearing by the justice committee.
As he was being carried outside the session hall and onto a police vehicle, one of the protesters punched a Special Action Force (SAF) policeman.
A metal detector at the entrance of the House fell as more militants tried to enter the doors leading to the session hall.

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February  4, 2006, INQ7, Communist rebels release captive Air Force major--officialsBy TJ Burgonio, Tonette Orejas, Joel Francis Guinto,

SAN FERNANDO CITY -- (4TH UPDATE) Communist rebels freed an Air Force engineer on early Friday evening after seven months in captivity.Major Neptune Eliquin was handed over to Senator Rodolfo Biazon and two church officials at around 7 p.m. in a coastal lair of the rebels somewhere in Central Luzon.
Three hours later, Biazon turned over Eliquin to Armed Forces Vice Chief of Staff Vice Admiral Ariston delos Reyes and Air Force commander Lieutenant General Jose Reyes at Camp Aguinaldo.
"I am happy to see my family," Eliquin, 50, clad in a white and blue checkered shirt and khaki pants, told a news conference.
Eliquin, civil-military relations officer of the Philippine Air Force’s 355th engineering battalion in Basa Air Base in Pampanga province, was snatched on July 2 while on his way to his farm near a border of Bataan. New People's Army (NPA) guerillas seized him along with four civilians who were freed earlier.
Jorge de los Reyes, spokesman of the National Democratic Front (NDF) in Central Luzon, earlier said a revolutionary committee had cleared Eliquin as early as December of "crimes against the people."Biazon said the rebels phoned him at around 1:30 p.m. Friday to inform him about the release, although Bayan Muna Representative Satur Ocampo, a former NDF spokesman, discussed with him the planned release two weeks ago.
Biazon, together with Bishop Solito Toquero of the United Methodist Church and Bulacan Catholic priest Father Ele, was fetched by the rebels somewhere in Central Luzon. They took a jeepney (passenger mini-bus) to a coastal area where they were transferred to a fishing boat that brought them to the NPA camp.
"We had a short ceremony before he [Elquin] was turned over," Biazon said, adding the rebels even served them dinner.
Citing security considerations for the former prisoner of war, Biazon begged off from saying where Eliquin’s release took place.
At the press conference, Eliquin was prevented from divulging details on his captivity pending "debriefing." But he went as far as saying that the rebels treated him well.
The Air Force major was reunited with his wife, Teresita, 45, an employee at Air Force headquarters in Villamor Airbase.
"I never lost hope. I had faith in God," Teresita said.
Gregorio “Ka Roger” Rosal, spokesman for the Communist Party of the Philippines, said in a statement that Eliquin was handed over to Biazon and the church officials in response to appeals by Eliquin's family and other military officers opposed to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Rosal said the release was "an act of goodwill and offer of friendship and cooperation by the CPP, NPA and revolutionary movement to anti-Arroyo military and police officers and men."
Biazon, a former chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, said the NDF, the umbrella group of the rebel forces, chose to free Eliquin to him because of his pro-people stance on social justice issues.
An Air Force statement issued shortly after Elequin's abduction last year said he was involved in a government project to build farm-to-market roads, school buildings and reservoirs in 36 villages in Pampanga.
It said the rebels may have resorted to the abduction of unarmed military engineers to prevent the government from pursuing development projects in the area, where communist influence is thought by some to be waning.
Eliquin was the second POW released by the communist insurgents since January. The first was TSgt. Marlon Oronan of the Philippines Marines who was abducted while on furlough in Guagua, Pampanga.
Biazon also said the issue of peace talks and the formation of a transition government was discussed during his brief meeting with communist leaders.
"There were discussions regarding transition government but I am not at liberty to divulge specific details so as not to break their trust," Biazon said.
The rebels also expressed their desire to resume peace talks, which have been stalled since August 2004, he said.
Elsewhere, an NPA unit in the southern Philippines had said it arrested three pro-government militiamen it claimed were "active combatants in the paramilitary operations" of the army in southern Davao City and who allegedly "committed particular abuses and violations of people's rights."
In the bloodiest clash in recent months, the military said Tuesday troops killed 18 rebels when rocket-firing helicopter gunships and armored vehicles shooting heavy machine guns blasted a rebel encampment in Tarlac province near Pampanga.
The NPA, with about 8,000 fighters, has been waging a Maoist rebellion since the late 1960s. The rebels suspended Norwegian-brokered talks with the Philippine government in 2004 to protest Manila's refusal to ask the United States and Europe to remove them from the terror blacklists. With Associated Press

November 1, 2005, Inquirer News Service, Associated Press, Suspected NPA hitmen gun down 4 members of rival group, by Carla P. Gomez,

NEGROS OCCIDENTAL-- (UPDATE) Five suspected New People’s Army hitmen shot and killed four members of the rival Revolutionary Proletarian Army-Alex Boncayao Brigade (RPA-ABB) on Tuesday afternoon in central Philippines.The gunmen using short firearms killed all four RPA-ABB members in front of a variety store at Camanchili sub-village, Dolis village, Calatrava, Negros Occidental,
said Philippine National Police (PNP) Negros Occidental director Senior Superintendent Charles Calima.
But the suspects made sure their targets were dead by again shooting at the victims, this time using the firearms of the RPA-ABB members.
They then identified themselves as members of the NPA to the bystanders and left the area, carting away the firearms of the victims consisting of two M-16 rifles, an M-14 rifle, and an M-203 grenade launcher.
Three of the fatalities were identified as RPA-ABB team leader Eleuterio Lumanat alias Ongkoy, his brother-in-law Janiche Costanilla and Carlos Delema.
The other fatality remained unidentified.
The two rival armed groups have been in a bitter quarrel over extortion issues in the province.
Ideological differences led to a fracture within the communist rebel organization in the early 1990s, with the RPA-ABB breaking away from the NPA, the communist party's armed wing.
Several leaders of the breakaway group, accused by communist rebels of being spies for the Philippine military, have been slain by their former comrades.
The NPA rebels, who are on US and European lists of terrorist organizations, have been waging a rebellion in the Philippines since the late 1960s.
They suspended Norwegian-brokered talks with the government last year, saying the government has done little to remove them from the terrorist blacklists.
The breakaway group has also held peace negotiations with Manila.
Inquirer Visayas Bureau

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October 28, 2005, INQ7, Communist rebels torch construction equipment in Mindanao, by Joel Francis Guinto,

SUSPECTED communist rebels torched five government-owned construction machinery in Talaingod town, Davao del Norte province, a spokesman for the Philippine Army said Friday.At around 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, an undetermined number of New People's Army (NPA) fighters burned down three dump trucks, a pay loader and a roller, all owned by the provincial government, along the Lasak river in Sto. Nino village, Major Bartolome Bacarro said.
He said the construction equipment were used in government's road construction project in Bukidnon province.
“These were burned after the construction engineers and other workers refused to give in to their [rebels] extortion activities," he said.
It was the second time in almost a year that the NPA burned down government-owned machinery in the area. In December 2004, the rebels torched a bulldozer, Bacarro said.
The NPA is the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines. It has been waging a guerillacampaign in the countryside for 36 years.

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February 6, 2006,  INQ7, 2 suspected NPA rebels killed in Camarines Sur clash, by Joel Francis Guinto,

TWO suspected communist rebels, including an amazon, were killed in an encounter with government troops in Libmanan town, Camarines Sur province, some 426 kilometers south of Manila, belated military reports said.Patrolling elements from the 42nd Infantry Battalion encountered some 20 New People's Army (NPA) guerrillas in sitio (sub-village) Labni, Dunag village at around 2 p.m. Saturday, according to the reports.
A 15-minute firefight ensued, resulting in the death of the two still unidentified rebels. An M635 rifle and an M16 rifle were recovered from the rebels.
On Sunday, NPA fighters briefly took hostage and then released the mayor of Lingig town in Surigao del Sur province and ransacked a police station in the same town.
The 8,000-strong NPA is the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP). It has been waging a guerrilla campaign for almost four decades.
Peace talks between the government and the communist rebels bogged down in August 2004 after the insurgents protested their inclusion in the United States' and European Union's lists of terrorist organizations.

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February 21, 2006, Agence France-Presse, Leyte landslide survivors face tragic past, uncertain future,

SAINT BERNARD -- In a matter of seconds, the homes and families of the central Philippine village of Guinsaugon were wiped out, buried under a mountain of soil and rock.

Now survivors must come to grips with both a painful past and an uncertain future.

Around 2,000 people lived in Guinsaugon, near the town of Saint Bernard in the central island of Leyte, before a landslide triggered by two weeks of heavy rain wiped the village from the map on Friday.

Eighty bodies have been found so far and around 1,400 people are missing amid fading hopes of finding any more survivors.

The civil defense office says 415 people were away from the village at the time of the tragedy.

The survivors have been housed at the Saint Bernard Central High School while the government tries to find new homes for them.

Some 1,300 people from other nearby villages have been moved into separate shelters in Saint Bernard because of a threat of more landslides.

Those centers are filled with laughing, screaming and crying kids, but the high school is eerily silent.

More than 200 of Guinsaugon's children were in the elementary school when the landslide hit and were buried along with the rest of the village. Now, only a handful of very small children can be seen among the survivors.

Maria Len Duhiling, 26, lost her parents, two sisters, three brothers and three nieces and nephews. She escaped only because she was consulting a doctor in another village about her pregnancy.

Her sister and five-year-old child accompanied her that day, a decision that saved their lives.

"Someone sent a text message that there was a landslide. I thought it was a minor incident and my family wasn't affected. And then I heard the entire mountainside had collapsed," she said.

"We wept and wept. We had nowhere to go, nowhere to return to," she said.

Her husband, Rudy Duhiling, 28, a coconut harvester, was also outside the village, collecting copra on the mountainside.

"I thought I was dead. I was just 100 meters [yards] away when the earth began moving. In seconds, the rolling rubble had hit my home. The coconut trees rushed down the mountainside," he said.

"I yelled to the other copra harvesters and they ran out. I told them the earth had slid and that we must go, our homes have been destroyed. They said, 'Impossible.'"

"We descended and found a desert," Duhiling said. While his wife and child survived, he lost his mother and 20 other relatives.

"I have no idea what I will do now," he said.

"He spends a lot of time just staring into space," his wife remarked.

Rosalie Siega, 15, was attending high school in the neighboring village of Tambis when the earth shook.

Students rushed out and realized Guinsaugon had been destroyed.

Her father survived because he was collecting hemp in the mountains but her mother and a sister died. "I spend a lot of time crying," Siega said, sitting in a chair as a classmate tried to comfort her.

Jesse Coquilla, 21, who lost his mother, his sister and cousins, has tried to come to terms with the loss.

Coquilla said he had no illusions of finding his family alive, or even of recognizing the bodies.

He and his father, a village councilor, only survived because they had gone into Saint Bernard to buy fertilizer for their farm.

"When we came back, we saw there was nothing," he said. 
"We couldn't even eat that day. We couldn't sleep. We still can't completely relax."

But Coquilla does not blame God for the disaster or the government for not evacuating the villagers earlier. "We have to accept what happened. No one is at fault," he said.

Social workers have been counseling the Guinsaugon evacuees to help them deal with their pain, offering them "stress debriefing."

Emily Adona, a social worker, said no one had snapped so far and become hysterical or suicidal.

The high school overlooks a small cemetery where some 30 Guinsaugon victims were speedily interred on Sunday due to decomposition.

What happens to Guinsaugon now is still to be determined.

A carpet of mud and rocks, up to 30 meters (100 feet) deep in a few places, covers a nine square kilometer (3.5 square mile) area.

Coquilla has a suggestion: "My father says just make it a cemetery and put up a giant cross."

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April 11, 2006, Agence France-Presse,

PAGADIAN -- A force of over 100 communist rebels launched a major attack on a military camp in the southern Philippines Tuesday causing casualties, local officials said.
At least one soldier was killed and two others injured after the New People's Army rebels overran the camp near Sapang Dalanga on the northeast coast of Mindanao island, local mayor Benjamin Pilota told Agence France-Presse.
The regional military chief, Brigadier General Eugenio Sedo, declined to comment on the attack.
The NPA is the 8,000-member armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, which has been waging a 37-year Maoist insurgency.

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June 22, 2006, INQ7, Arroyo, Metro Manila security tight over new terror threats, by Joel Guinto, Thea Alberto,

(UPDATE) AMID reports of fresh reports of terrorist threats, security around President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and in Metro Manila has been tightened, authorities said.
The Presidential Security Group has beefed up its measures to protect Arroyo while the National Capital Region Police Office has set up checkpoints and deployed more men in designated areas, they said.
A report on Thursday over GMA Network’s “Unang Hirit” morning newscast said the checkpoints have been set up since 10 p.m. Wednesday.
"There have been some consistent reports of bombings in different areas

of the country and we are very concerned about this because the President has been moving around," said Brigadier General Delfin Bangit, PSG commander.
But Bangit said they had yet to recommend changes in the President's schedule.
Quoting police intelligence reports, NCRPO chief Vidal Querol said terrorists might also attack Mindanao.

Allies of the Southeast Asian terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah are probably behind these threats, Querol said.

Bangit also said the PSG would pay close attention to security when members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) meet here in July.
"With or without threat, we have to give class A security to the visiting heads of state," he said.
The Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah, which have been linked to the Al-Qaeda network, last struck in February 2005 when they set off bomb attacks in the cities of Makati, Davao, and General Santos that killed eight people and wounded scores.
A year earlier, they bombed a passenger ferry off Manila Bay that killed over 200 and wounded hundreds others.
With a report on GMA7

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November 2nd, 2012, Inquirer Mindanao, Kidnap/robbery gang leader nabbed in Agusan del Sur, by Frinston Lim, 

TAGUM CITY, Philippines – The elusive leader of a criminal gang involved in kidnapping and robbery in Mindanao’s Caraga region fell into the hands of the authorities early Friday.
But Ondo Perez’s arrest around 2:30 a.m. in San Francisco, Agusan del Sur, did not come easy, Senior Superintendent Glenn dela Torre, Agusan del Sur police chief, said by phone. Police Officers 1 Jezrel Paje, Raymundo Villar and James Pontillo were injured when Perez lobbed a grenade as a team of policemen closed in on him in Barangay (village) Dos.
Perez, a former militiaman, shot to notoriety in 2009 when he led his armed followers in taking over an elementary school in a village in Prosperidad town, also in Agusan del Sur. His group held hostage 75 teachers and pupils for several days before releasing them.
Perez was later arrested and jailed for another crime in Surigao del Sur but was able to escape in 2010.
Last month, his group pulled another caper by abducting two Chinese nationals and a Filipino in Barobo, Surigao del Sur. The victims, who were into mining, were subsequently rescued.
Dela Torre said Perez’s group was also behind a string of robberies along the Agusan-Butuan highway, which targeted passenger buses. In fact, shortly before he was arrested, Perez and his gang robbed a bakeshop in San Francisco, police said.
Dela Torre said aside from Perez, six gang members were also arrested in a follow up operation on Friday.
“I can say we have already neutralized this gang,” Dela Torre said.

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Tuesday March 15, 12:05 AM

Pirates attack Japanese tugboat near Malaysia, three missing

Pirates attacked a Japanese-registered tugboat in Malaysian territorial waters Monday, and three people were believed to have been taken hostage, officials said.

The tugboat's owner notified Japan's Foreign Ministry that pirates had attacked the Idaten in the Malacca Strait at about 7:30 p.m. (1030 GMT) and kidnapped two Japanese _ the captain and chief engineer _ as well as a Filipino engineer, the ministry said in a statement.

The ministry said it was still confirming the information and had established a task force.

"The government will do its utmost for their safe and early release," the statement said.

Noel Choong, regional manager of the IMB's Kuala Lumpur-based piracy watch center, said the crew had contacted the center for help, saying an unknown number of armed pirates were trying to storm the boat in waters off northern Penang island. Kyodo News agency reported 14 crew were aboard the tugboat.

Police patrol vessels were immediately dispatched to the area, Choong said.

Japan's Coast Guard issued a warning to ships in the region advising caution, coast guard spokesman Masafumi Fujii said.

The incident is the third such attack in the Malacca Strait since the Dec. 26 tsunami, which some experts had thought may have decimated pirates who had long plagued the waterway between Sumatra island and peninsular Malaysia. The shipping lane is used by about 50,000 vessels annually.

"The long absence of pirates is over now," Choong said earlier after the IMB said an Indonesian-owned tanker was attacked Saturday. "The attacks are starting again."

At least 35 gunmen stormed MT Tri Samudra late Saturday while it was ferrying a full load of methane gas from Kalimantan province on Borneo island to Belawan on Sumatra island, the IMB said.

The attackers ordered the crew to sail toward Dumai district on a different part of Sumatra before disappearing with the captain and chief engineer as their captives, said Choong said.

The ship owners are negotiating the hostages' release with the attackers, who have demanded a ransom and are suspected of being members of the Free Aceh Movement, a rebel group on northern Sumatra, which has been accused of preying on passing ships, Choong added. He declined to elaborate on the negotiations.

Piracy in the Malacca Strait ceased after the tsunami that ravaged Sumatra's Aceh province. Some experts speculated that pirates were either killed or lost their boats, while others believed the large presence of international troops helping relief efforts had deterred attacks.

The first attack occurred Feb. 28, when four gunmen boarded a tug boat in Malaysian waters. They freed the boat's captain and a crew member after nine days, receiving no ransom but stealing money from the captain.

The International Maritime Bureau recorded 37 pirate attacks in the 885-kilometer-long (550-mile-long) Malacca Strait last year, up from 28 in 2003. Most attacks involved vessels being fired on and crew kidnapped for ransom.

Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore have launched naval patrols to guard the trade waterway.

y March 14, 1:49 PM

Environmentalists call on World Bank to abandon Laotian dam project

About 100 environmental activists and villagers burned an effigy of World Bank President James D. Wolfensohn in the Thai capital Monday, demanding that the bank scrap a US$1.3 billion (€969 million) dam project in neighboring Laos.

Construction of the Nam Theun 2 dam is set to begin if the World Bank's board of directors approves it next month. The protesters claimed it will ruin the lives of about 6,000 Laotian villagers who will be uprooted.

The dam will generate 1,070 megawatts of electricity, 95 percent of which will be exported to Thailand, earning Laos a projected US$200 million (€165 million) in annual revenue for 25 years.

The Laotian government argues the income is needed to bring the country out of poverty.

"This project has been extensively studied for its social and environmental impacts," said Illangovan Patchamuthu, the World Bank's environmental affairs coordinator. He said it includes plans for improving the welfare of those affected.

Aviva Imhof, a U.S.-based activist from the International Rivers Network environmentalist group, charged that the project "is going to produce nothing but hardship for the affected people."

She said the villagers to be displaced are subsistence farmers who currently grow rice, but the land where they are to be resettled is not suitable for cultivating the staple crop.

On the Net:

Nam Theun 2 Web site:

World Bank's Lao Web site:

International Rivers Network:

Pirates release tug boat crew abducted in Malaysian waters
Pirates who abducted the captain and a crew member of a tug boat in Malaysian waters released both hostages after nine days, receiving no ransom but stealing the captain's cash, police said Friday.
(AP) - Mar 11, 9:41 am

Indonesia withdraws naval ships from oil field disputed with Malaysia
Indonesia and Malaysia have agreed to work together to resolve a dispute over oil-rich sections of the Sulawesi Sea that escalated into a tense naval confrontation between the Southeast Asian neighbors, officials said Thursday.
(AP) - Mar 10, 10:40 am

Officials: Arrested Jemaah Islamiyah suspects planned to bomb church, airport, malls
Officers have arrested four suspected members of al-Qaida-linked terror groups who were planning to bomb an airport, malls and a church in the Philippines, police officials said Thursday.
(AP) - Feb 24, 10:56 am

Fiji mass murderer imprisoned for 19 years
A man described as Fiji's first mass murderer after he admitting hacking to death five people in 2003 was sentenced Thursday to 19 years in prison by the South Pacific nation's High Court.
(AP) - Feb 24, 11:41 am

Philippine Newspaper Highlights - Feb 23, 2005

MANILA, Feb 23 Asia Pulse - Highlights of today's newspapers:

- Ten million customers of two Metro Manila water concessionaires are entitled to a P1.5-billion refund for 2003 and 2004, according to estimates by the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System.

- The government has no funds under its budget allocation for the Palace-proposed national identification system, estimated to cost as much as P1.6 billion, the head of the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations said Tuesday.

- Credit-ratings agency Standard & Poors said Tuesday it remains disappointed at the slow pace of tax reforms in the Philippines, suggesting an unlikely reverse of a ratings downgrade in January. The agency last month lowered its credit ratings in the Philippines by a notch, citing concerns about a chronic budget deficit and delays in the government getting legislation to raise tax revenues through Congress.

- Local assemblers warned of a sharp drop in auto sales as well as job losses if a recent Court of Appeals decision allowing the unimpeded importation of used motor vehicles is upheld all the way to the Supreme Court.

- The Development Budget Coordination Committee has reduced the countrys deficit target to P180 billion this year from the original target of P184.5 billion.

- Businesspeople on Tuesday rallied against a Senate proposal that seeks to raise the corporate income tax in lieu of an increase in the value-added tax rate.

- Filipino contractors warned Tuesday of a further slump in the construction industry following the governments minimal spending on big infrastructure projects, most of which are contracted with foreign loans.

- The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) on Tuesday urged local wood exporters to comply with new sanitary measures on wood packaging to avoid delays in shipments.

- The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has approved the registration of SM Investments Corp.s (SMIC) maiden offering.

- The world's biggest economy is poised to motor ahead during 2005 and largely ride out some likely potholes presented by twin deficits, but fresh interest rate hikes loom on the road ahead, a panel of top US business economists said Tuesday.


- President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo yesterday called for a new revolution against deep-seated corruption which, she said, continues to derail economic growth and further sink the country in poverty.

- With international prices posting a continuing surge, the local oil companies are again gazing at another round of pump price increases in the next few days.

- The Foreign Chambers of the Philippines are opposing proposals to slap value-added tax on electricity, as this would reduce the countrys competitiveness as an investment location.

- A Filipino-owned firm Aragorn Power and Energy Corporation (APEC) has inked Service Contract No. 48 with the Department of Energy (DoE) for oil and gas exploration in the Cagayan Valley Basin.

- The Development Budget Coordination Committee has reduced the budget deficit target for the year from P184 billion to P180 billion or 3.4 per cent of gross domestic product, inclusive of National Power Corp. debts of P200 billion and interest payments of P18.1 billion.

- The Philippine Coconut Authority is projecting that the countrys coconut export volume could reach 1.82 million metric tons (MMT) this year, up by 3 per cent from 1.77 MMT posted in 2004.

- The peso rate closed higher at P54.680 to the US dollar yesterday at the Philippine Dealing System of the Bankers Association of the Philippines from P54.880 the previous day. The weighted average rate depreciated to P54.759 from P54.747. Total volume amounted to $406 million.



Abdullah SunataAbdullah SunataAbu SayyafSoutheast Asia20050909Link

September 5, 2005, Manila Standard, Two Indonesian suicide bombers identified,

Authorities have identified two of the 10 Indonesian suicide bombers who went to Mindanao middle of this year and are now scrambling to arrest them before they can carry out their missions.

The bombers are members of the Indonesia-based Komite Penanggulungan Krisis (Kompak) which is allied with the Asian terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah. JI is linked to Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaida terrorist network.

National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales said the information was confirmed by Enceng Kurnia, alias Arham, a member of the extremist Negara Islam Indonesia, who was arrested by police intelligence agents in Mindanao last June.

“We have, based on reports by Indonesian and local police intelligence agents, two Indonesian suicide bombers loose in the country. Of the 10 dispatched to carry out terror missions in Mindanao, six have been arrested, two are still on the loose while it is not known if two others are still in the country or have left for other places,” Gonzales said.

Kurnia, Gonzales said, confirmed that he arranged the passage to the Philippines of Indonesian suicide bombers alias Ahmad/Qildan and one Abu Nida. Both remained unaccounted for by the Indonesian and local police authorities. Both Ahman and Abu Nida have linked up with the Abu Sayyaf group in Mindanao.

The Indonesians who had gone to Mindanao, aside from Ahmad, Nida and Kurnia, include Abdullah Sunata, head of Kompak, Igbal Husaini and alias Ramly/Adrian and Purnama Putra, both leading members of Kompak.

Sunata, who was arrested in Jakarta last July 16, is a suspect in the Kuningan bombing and had been sent there by JI leader Umar Patek. Patek, who is believed to be based in Mindanao, sent 10 people to undergo terrorist training in the Philippines.

Patek is a senior member of the JI regional terror group and one of the top suspects in the October 2002 Bali, Indonesia bombings which killed 202 people. He is believed to be still in the Philippines.

The Indonesian National Police (Polri) arrested in June and July this year 24 Indonesian Islamic militants in various locations in Indonesia, seven of whom were later released.

Among the 15 still in detention, at least four — Sunata, Kurnia, Husaini and Putra — admitted to have gone to Mindanao to undergo training or to escort new recruits for training.

Gonzales said Sunata was arrested by the Polri for allegedly hiding Malaysian bomb experts Noordin Mohammad Top and Azahari Husin, both prime suspects in a series of bloody attacks in Indonesia.

Noordin and Azahari are suspected of playing major roles in the Bali bombings, the August 2003 bomb blast at the Marriot Hotel in Jakarta and the suicide van bomb blast at the Australian embassy in that city in September. Romie A. Evangelista

They died with their boots on
Posted on October 31, 2012 at 12:01am
They died with their boots on. Marine Chaplain Maj. Adriano Mendiola administers the last rites in Fort Bonifacio for the four Marines who were killed in an ambush by the Abu Sayyaf in Patikul, Sulu, on Oct. 28.(Photo by Danny Pata)
Read More

MNLF: Military fighting us not Abu Sayyaf
Posted on October 30, 2012 at 12:01am
Ranking officials of the Moro National Liberation Front claimed on Monday that the firefight in Barangay Bakong in Patikul, Sulu, was between the military and its forces and not with the terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group as reported by top military officials.
Read More

Posted on October 21, 2012 at 12:01am
Clan wars may escalate
Members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and bandits from the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters headed by Umbra Kato have clashed several times recently, and a military official said the skirmishes could escalate although the clashes had nothing to do with the framework agreement signed between the MILF and the government the Philippine government signed a week ago.
Read More

Police capture 3 Abus
Posted on October 18, 2012 at 12:01am
Police arrested three suspected members of the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf, including a notorious kidnapper with a P3.3-million reward on his head.
Read More

Govt gears up for war vs Kato
Posted on October 17, 2012 at 12:01am
MILF to help go after BIFF members, Abus
The Army and police are preparing to launch offensives against the breakaway group of Umbra Kato after the administration signed a framework agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the government’s chief negotiator Marvic Leonen said Tuesday.
Read More

Govt downplays terror threats in Metro Manila
Posted on October 01, 2012 at 12:00am
THE government on Sunday said it considered the security threat against Western nations here as “benign,” even as intelligence forces continued to be on the lookout for Abu Sayyaf terrorists in Metro Manila to preempt them just in case.
Read More

Sayyaf strikes in Basilan
Posted on September 22, 2012 at 12:00am
A group of Abu Sayyaf bandits ambushed Thursday at around 4 p.m. a convoy of rubber plantation workers, killing one of them and their two militiamen escorts in Sumisip, Basilan, a military spokesman reported on Friday.
Read More

3 Abu bandits slain in Basilan
Posted on September 05, 2012 at 12:00am
At least three Abu Sayyaf bandits were killed while four government soldiers were wounded during a firefight Tuesday in Basilan.
Read More

PH, neighbors eye joint sea border patrol
Posted on August 31, 2012 at 12:01am
The Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia are considering joint patrols of their sea borders to combat piracy, smuggling and the movement of al-Qaida-linked militants.
Read More

MILF scores non-coordination
Posted on August 04, 2012 at 12:01am
An official of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front on Friday said the July 26 military assault against alleged members of the Abu Sayyaf Group, in which 10 government soldiers perished, was not coordinated with the MILF forces.
Read More

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