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3 Malaysian fighters in Patikul

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(BY: REV. BERLIE G. YAP) The AFP engaged again, another recent fight, with the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in Sulu. What surprised the soldiers is the presence of 3 Malaysian nationals with the group. The suspicion is they could be another experts, like Marwan, that might be training the bandits to make improvised bombs and other tactics not so familiar with the ASG.

The waters that separate the two countries are very accessible to intending persons to cross to our borders. The advent of fundamentalism of the extremist groups is very alarming. Asian terror groups seem to know now to copy with those in the Middle East and in Europe. The car bomb in Guiwan, last month, is an apparent example of their upgrades.

Where there money come from, if that is the case? How is their terrorism being financed? The intelligence community disclosed that other foreign networks are secretly sending them millions of money to buy arsenals, and also their kidnap-for-ransom trade. It has been said that ASG regulars do have their own monthly salary.

Allegedly, the good salary each regular receives and their high-tech arms do easily allure a good number of youths in the South. Many of them are from poverty, children of farmers and fishermen who hardly could finish their elementary and high school. They, too, have dreams in life, but life’s difficulty denied them. Thus, they joined the ASG.

There also, accordingly, is the limitless supply of drugs which fuel their unequalled bravery that even our military are impressed in their encounters in the highlands of Sulu and Basilan. All of these we know as unconfirmed hearsays, these same bandits actually grow marijuana plants in the mountain.

The soils of the two provinces are extremely rich. It could really be possible that as part of the routines of other ASG members are growing these illegal plants because there is big money in them. They also harvest them and in turn pass to other stealth members in the lowland as merchants to other buyers in the nearby cities and provinces like Zamboanga.

This probability can be supported to previous busts of the military in the hinterlands of Basilan and Sulu. With these concoction, one can easily adjudge that the struggle of the ASG is neither about religion or political in nature but plainly banditry. They are around to simply inflict and harm. It is not about ideology they are giving their lives for but a non-sense and a useless hit and run struggle against our government.

Internationally, the ASG is labeled as a terrorist group. The Americans, especially, even gave higher bounties to a number of their leaders. The war on terrorism of the United States is still on, thus, the US government is willing to shell-out millions of dollars against their enemies, both foreign and home grown.

The latest sighting of the AFP in the mountains of Patikul must cast a worry to our government. If they indeed are experts, Marwan could be dead already but, the threats of more bombings ain’t over yet. The recent battle of our military in the highlands of Patikul is relentless, yet the force of the ASG who knows the terrain of the place easily can slip from the grip of the government pressures.

Many of them also wear talisman, that accordingly, bullets cannot hurt them. Well, stories like these are very subjective. Let’s however continue to pray for the safety of our people every day. May peace come eventually to our Island and to us all, too.

“The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.” Hab. 3:19

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