False victory against terror

THE recent airstrike that killed three most wanted terrorists in the world, along with their 12 other followers, has been touted as a major victory in the Philippines’ fight against terrorism.

The three terrorists were identified as Malaysian Zulkifli bin Hir (alias Marwan), Singaporean Abdullah Ali (alias Mauwiyah Anjala), and Abu Sayyaf Commander Gumbahali Jumdail (alias Dr. Abu Pula).

Marwan, a known bomb expert who got his training as an engineer in the US, is a member of the central command of regional terror network Jemaah Islamiyah. He was been implicated in a number of deadly bombings and in the training of new militants.

Mauwiyah Anjala is another top JI leader who has a $50,000 bounty on his head, while Dr. Abu Pula was been implicated in the 2001 kidnapping of an American missionary couple and the abduction of 21 tourists in Sipadan, Malaysia in 2000.

But the death of these three most wanted terrorists can hardly be claimed as a convincing victory in the global fight against terror, much less for the ill-equipped military which has been struggling in the past several years in running after these three terrorists.

This is so as the airstrike planned and aided by US special forces troops who have been deployed in Mindanao to track down Marwan using satellite and drone surveillance since 2002 only proves the active presence of foreign terrorists in the country.

In addition, the Philippine government has yet to secure the freedom of foreign tourists from the hands of the notorious Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) which has continued to carry out their nefarious kidnap-for-ransom activities in Zamboanga, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi area.

Two foreign wildlife photographers have yet to be recovered from ASG, along with an Australian national who has also abducted since December last year. The Australian national, Warren Rodwell, is believed to be under the custody of Commander Nadzmir Ali, also known as Commander Ali up to now.

Despite being decimated as an organization, the ASG continues to sow fear and terror, including kidnap-for-ransom activities victimizing local residents and foreign tourists, to the embarrassment of the Philippine government in the eyes of the international community.

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