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

Analyst: Joint-Arab Military Force Poses Perilous Challenge

Although international forces are desperately needed to counter the threat of the Islamic State group, analysts say conflicting alliances could escalate fighting More

Asia’s Middle Class Changes Demand for Wheat Grain Exporters

Changes in tastes and diets are boon for wheat exporters such as Australia and the United States More

S. African Comedian Taking Over Popular TV Show

Mixed-race comedian Trevor Noah, who is loved for his edgy jibes about race and language, is taking the helm from Jon Stewart at The Daily Show in US 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.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More