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The overwhelming emotional celebration the community of nations over the death of Osama bin Laden is not about to settle. From ground zero in New York City where once proudly stood the twin towers of the World Trade Center that symbolized the economic muscle of the USA and around the White House which is the seat of power of America and then across the oceans and into the other nations of varied faiths and ideologies, leaders are jubilant and people are happy that after over a decade of search and sleuthing, the head of the terror machine has finally met his end.

The sweet yet sudden conclusion of the long yet bloody and murderous saga of the supreme terrorist however does not mean peace will reign just as quickly. If red alert is raised amidst the celebratory atmosphere, it is because the tentacles of terror might deliver still a retaliatory attack.  The vulnerability of targets happens when guards are down in confidence that the threats are no more.  Vigilance is more urgent now than in any other time.

The fact is, Bin Laden and his Al Qaeda, the mother organization of terrorism, had spawned and nursed so many offspring. We have our share of these clones in the Philippines, among them the Jemaah Islamiyah and Abu Sayyaf.  These groups have waged vicious terror attacks in the national capital regions and in many soft targets in Mindanao. When they ran out of funds, they conduct kidnap for ransom operations. When their victims do not capitulate, they decapitate them without mercy.  Ironically, some impressionable sectors thought that they are the champions of Islam. The fact is, majority of the victims of their terrorist acts are followers of Islam.

It is therefore a surprise to read declarations made, such as those of ranking officials of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, which consider Osama bin Laden a martyr.  Time and again, the MILF issued condemnation of the indiscriminate manslaughter done by these terrorist organizations which victimized innocent civilians.  Time and time again, the MILF denied it is not harboring elements of Jemaah Islamiyah and the Abu Sayyaf. But of course we knew that they move around and seek refuge in MILF territories wherever hunted for their crime.

As we put a closure on the last chapter of the life of Bin Laden we asked the question why the supreme leader of terrorist campaign that brought nations to a shudder be living in the comfort of a luxurious mansion while watching his victims bleed to death and hearing the maimed cry in pain. And then we wonder why some people can see martyrdom in a man who take pleasure in the agony of others.

By Menardo Wenceslao

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