News / Asia

Abu Sayyaf Rebels Kill 16 Civilians in Philippines

Relatives grieve for a soldier killed while fighting Abu Sayyaf militants in the southern Philippines. Services were at Villamor Air Base near Manila June 21, 2014.
Relatives grieve for a soldier killed while fighting Abu Sayyaf militants in the southern Philippines. Services were at Villamor Air Base near Manila June 21, 2014.
Simone Orendain

Philippine military officials say at least 16 people were killed Monday in an insurgent attack on civilians in the country’s southwest.

A military spokeswoman said about 50 members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) ambushed residents of a neighborhood in Talipao town. The residents were on their way to a celebration marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Captain Rowena Muyuela said men and women were killed and at least 13 children were among the injured. She said the civilians were family members of the B-PAT or Barangay Peacekeeping Action Team, a neighborhood volunteer police group.

Muyuela said insurgents retaliated against the volunteer group because they, along with the military and national police, have been carrying out operations against the Abu Sayyaf.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines called the attack a “heinous atrocity.”  In a statement from general headquarters, it said the act “cannot be justified by any ideology and shows the Abu Sayyaf’s terroristic nature.” The statement said those responsible would be brought to justice.

Primer on insurgency

The Abu Sayyaf is based in the island province of Sulu, where Talipao is located. It started out as an insurgent group calling for a separate Muslim state and in the 1990s received seed money from al-Qaida.  But funding dwindled as authorities cracked down on international backers of terrorist activities. And its ranks diminished as international operations against terror groups intensified following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

In 2002, the United States started rotating visiting forces to the southern Philippines to train the local military in counterterrorism operations.  But the U.S. said in June it would scale back its presence in the south. Some 320 U.S. troops are there now.

U.S. government officials say the Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines was “successful at drastically reducing the capabilities of domestic and trans-national terrorist groups.”  They point out that the Abu Sayyaf has devolved into a criminal group focused more on kidnappings for ransom and other crimes. 

Officials say the U.S.-backed program will “cease to exist” in the first half of 2015.

The Abu Sayyaf and several other smaller insurgent groups are on the fringes of a recently signed peace pact between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the country’s largest Muslim rebel group. 

You May Like

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: Iraq President Vows to Fight IS 'Until They Are Killed or We Die'

In wide-ranging interview with VOA Persian service reporter, Fuad Masum describes conflict as new type of fight that will take time to win More

Video Russian Anti-Corruption Campaigner Slams Putin’s Crackdown on Dissent

In interview with VOA Alexei Navalny says he believes new law against 'undesirable NGOs' part of move to keep Russian president in power More

Video On The Scene: In Ethiopia, 'Are You a Journalist?' Is a Loaded Question

VOA's Anita Powell describes the difficulties faced by reporters in fully conveying the story in a country where people are reticent to share their true opinions More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Not Again from: Canada
July 28, 2014 12:57 PM
Another terrible attack by terrorists against civilians; and the usual group, that has a culture of violence, has attacked Muslim civilians for no other reason that they want peace and do not share in their culture of violent terrorism. There is no real political solution, with such terrorists that do not want peace, The Philippine's gvmt has been trying all kinds of political approaches to bring the conflict to a resolution, to no avail. The failure lies with the international community that gives the terrorists a free hand; each time the Philippine gvmt has the upper hand, the UN and the others step in, and prevent the defeat of the terrorists and their capture.

We see this type of failing international approach in Yemen, Somalia, CAR, Israel, Russia, Mali, etc... Such an approach just does not work, and causes millions of refugees and tens of thousands of innocent victims at the hands of the terrorists, that use the civilian populations as hostages, shields, slaves, and all types of abuses like torture, chopping off limbs, sexual enslavement, mules for drug trafficking, etc... The only way ahead is to defeat, disarm the terrorists, put them on trial and remove them from the populations they are harming.
In Response

by: jon from: Planet Earth
July 30, 2014 2:51 AM
I do not defend the killing of innocent people from any perspective for any reason, but there are at LEAST TWO sides to the story. Nothing is black or white, in a very simplistic overview, the NPA fights against the government who they view as utterly and totally corrupt, corruption which is RAMPANT in the Philippines (as in any country) at the highest levels, a government who's corrupt actions contribute to the POVERTY of the people. You have a good heart but one sided POV.

by: Samyan from: Pinoy
July 28, 2014 11:58 AM
That is the reason why we admire Israel so much. The fact that they will not allow Arab Islamic depravity to visit the Holy Land is a source of admiration to the world... and envy and jealousy to others.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs