Update: Here is the summary of the background story. There has been a moslem separatist movement in the southern islands of the Phillippines for decades. Osama Bin Laden took advantage of this fact as well as the remote location and has poured millions of dollars into a terrorist organization – Abu Sayyaf – which kidnaps people and holds them hostage, and does other evil things. They are not currently popular with the villagers or with the leadership of the separatist movement. They have no popular support. Recently, they kidnapped Father Giancarlo Bossi, a Roman Catholic missionary priest. Here is an interview – a debriefing of his time being held hostage by the Abu Sayyaf terrorists. It is fascinating. He developed a friendship with his kidnappers, who he thinks were just following orders from the Supreme Commander. This is a good survival strategy if you are a hostage. I watched all three videos with interest – although they are most interesting from a psychological point of view. He does not realize how evil his kidnappers are, and Father Giancarlo Bossi laughs a lot!
Interview with Father Giancarlo Bossi Part 1
Interview with Father Giancarlo Bossi Part 2
Interview with Father Giancarlo Bossi Part 3
When the Philippine military went in to rescue this Catholic Priest, the terrorist organization beheaded several of the Philippine soldiers. The current military operation is retaliation for these beheadings. The Philippine government wants to take out the Al-Qaeda branch of terrorists, while keeping the peace treaty they have with the Islamic villagers and separatists. They are following the military operation with humanitarian aid to the people of the island.
End of Update
MANILA, Aug 23,2007(AFP)-“Nearly 24,000 people have fled their homes in southern Phillippines to escape fighting between the armed forces and Islamic militants” http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/rwb.nsf/db900SID/EKOI-76C4VK?OpenDocument
That’s a LOT OF PEOPLE!!! And it looks like Al Quida and US Special Forces are both involved in this conflict. I am not seeing anything about this from regular news sources. The fight is between the Abu Sayyaf terrorists, who have links with Al-Qaeda and Phillipine troops who are backed up by US Special Forces (who train and provide intelligence. They are barred by the Philippine constitution from taking part in military operations).
Here are some articles that explain the back story:
The fighting is taking place on rugged jungle terrain on the southern islands of Bailan and Jolo. The Phillipines is mainly Roman Catholic, with a 9% Moslem minority, that lives primarily in the south, where the fighting is going on.