Three days after the July 10 ambush and beheading of 14 Marines near Tipo tipo, Basilan the largest Filipino daily newspaper wrote in its Editorial, Savages on the loose:
To this deliberate provocation the national leadership must respond with both iron fist and open mind. The Armed Forces of the Philippines must bring the savages to justice. But the government must also push peace negotiations with Moro separatists, finally, to a fair conclusion.Thirty days later nineteen (GMA tv) or twenty (PDI headline article) more Marines have been ambushed and killed by Abu Sayyaf terrorists under Radullan Sahiron AND Moro NATIONAL Liberation Front MNLF rebels. That's the MNLF (Nur Misuari's outfit) plus Abu Sayyaf terrorists.
THAT'S 34 PHILIPPINE MARINES AMBUSHED AND KILLED IN 30 DAYS!
I hope the significance of the latest killings won't be lost, even on those loudly trying to save the Peace Talks with the MILF: the 20 Marines killed yesterday were ambushed by the MNLF--a "former" rebel group with whom we already have a signed peace accord.
Here is MNLF chair Hatimil Hassan blaming the Military for yesterday's ambush of nine soldiers on their way to buy groceries!
One would expect that from the MNLF-MILF-ASG leadership, although for once, the MILF's Eid Kabbalu had to be telling the truth that his group was not involved in the Sulu ambush yesterday, just as he was truthfully bragging about the ambush a month ago in Basilan and also blaming the Military for "lack of coordination."
But it puzzles and bothers me that the same PDI Editorial also blames the Military!--
I wonder what those guyz and galz are smokin' in them thar PEACE PIPES?
Taken together, what do these facts, and the logical implications they carry, tell us about the situation in Basilan? The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) remains on the losing end of the war for hearts and minds; we find it telling that not a single resident tried to send a warning to the military convoy... This lack of public support at the local level and the ambiguousness of the “enemy” make it difficult to root out the causes of insurgency, terrorism, even crimes of opportunity like kidnapping. All the more reason to forge a fair deal with the MILF. Those we smoke the peace pipe with have less incentive to lie in ambush, in the pouring rain.
The MNLF has already signed a peace accord with the government...theoretically they are way beyond PEACE TALKS. Yet they seem to have some incentive that eludes the editorialists at PDI, to indeed lie in ambush in the pouring rain and kill uniformed Philippine Marines.
It cannot seem to penetrate certain skulls that just maybe they DON'T WANT PEACE. We cannot force them to if they do not want to lay down their arms and negotiate in good faith. No amount of good will, open-mindedness or pacifistic fervour can force them to. Why is that so hard for some people to understand?
The problem we face is therefore not only the MNLF-MILF-ASG Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde & Go Seek. It is also an inexplicable hard-headedness about things that we can do something about, and things that are beyond our control. Such as the moral values of the foes and what they are ultimately willing to do to achieve their objectives.
ABSCBN TV News reports that nine Marines were killed and several wounded Thursday morning when they were ambushed near Maimbung town, Sulu, by a band of Abu Sayyaf gunmen said to be led by RADULAN SAHIRON, a one-armed, horseback riding terrorist with a deadly record and millions in reward money on his head. Here is a Brief Resume of Radulan Sahiron's accomplishments in such lucrative professions as kidnap-for-ransom, murder-and-robbery and abduction with rape-for-the-heck-of-it. This is a 2005 bulletin backgrounder on Radulan Sahiron from the US Treasury Dept. which freezes any financial accounts or transactions he may have in US jurisdictions or with US citizens and corporations.
Readers of Philippine Commentary encountered Radulan Sahiron previously.
AKAs: SAHIRON, Radullan, SAHIRUN, Radulan, SAJIRUN, Radulan
Radulan Sahiron has perpetrated several brutal acts of terrorism involving bombings of civilians and kidnappings of U.S. and foreign nationals. He ordered the bombings conducted by the ASG on Jolo Island in 2004, as mentioned above, resulting in the death of 11 Filipino civilians and an American serviceman and wounding more than 200 others. The improvised explosive devices used in the bombings were initially assembled at Sahiron's headquarters, Camp Tubig Tuh-Tuh, on Jolo Island.
Sahiron was considered to be the key leader of the April 2000 Jolo/Sipadan kidnappings of 21 foreign tourists, including Westerners, Malaysians, and Filipinos, conducted by Sahiron and four other ASG members. Following the June 2002 ASG kidnapping of four hostages from a ship, the MT Singtec Marine 88 vessel, three of the four hostages were turned over to ASG leader Sahiron and held captive. In June 2002, Sahiron promised to end kidnappings on Jolo Island if the ransom was paid. In August 2002, Sahiron received and held four kidnapped women Filipina nationals on Jolo Island. In November 2002, Sahiron demanded 16 million Philippine Pesos (about US $312,195) for the freedom of seven hostages, including the four Filipina women. As of December 2003, Radulan Sahiron had received a total of 35 million Philippine Pesos (about US $636,000) in ransom payments from his participation in kidnappings.
Like Sali, Sahiron has held several senior positions of influence within the ASG. As early as 1999, he was one of fourteen members of the ASG's Majlis Shura (consultative council). In mid-2002, he acted as an advisor to ASG leader Khadafi Janjalani. Additionally, Sahiron has held several leadership positions over ASG fighters in the Sulu Archipelago area of the Southern Philippines.
From 2000 through 2003, Sahiron was described in various roles, including the leader of the ASG's Putol group, composed of an estimated 100 members operating on Jolo Island in the Sulu area of the Southern Philippines; as the head of the Sulu-based ASG consisting of 18 armed groups; as the ASG Chief of Staff in Sulu; and as the overall ASG commander on Jolo Island with an estimated 1,000 fully-armed followers.
He'll make a good-looking One-Armed Michael Jackson when he does the Algorithm Dance in Cebu on YouTube. Forty years will be a good run for him after prosecution and conviction under the Human Security Act.