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A new dawn in Sulu

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The number of Jemaah Islamiyah and beastlyAbu Sayyaf guerillas had been neutralized since the Philippine Armed Forcesintensified their campaign in February.  Among those accounted for werethree known terrorist chieftains identified as Ju Zulkipli bin Abdul Hir alsoknown as “Marwan” and “Brahim”. Also killed in the military campaign wereMuhamda Ali alias Muawiyah or Anjala and  the homegrown Abu Sayyaf leaderGumbahali Jumdail a.k.a Dr. Abu.
Marwan was considered one of the top JIleaders in Southeast Asia after Umar Patek who was arrested in Pakistan. He isa Malaysian Engineer who was trained in the United States but later became afugitive of the law because of his involvement in terrorist attacks.

Gambali on the other hand is a notorious ASGleader long wanted by the law. A reward money of $2-million or aboutP200-million was earmarked for his capture dead or alive.

What was significant here more than thereward and the elimination of at least 15 terrorist operatives to include thethree notorious leaders during that military and police operations in Parang,Sulu, was the role of the civilian community that helped in pinpointing theexact whereabouts of the terrorists. The American government, through itsReward for Justice Program, is offered a $5-million reward for the captureZulkifli, who was listed as one of the United States’ most-wanted terrorists.Muawiya, who was tagged as among those behind the 2002 Bali bombing, carries a$50,000 reward.

The cooperation of local Sulu residents is aclear manifestation that they had had enough of the terrorist elements in theirarea. They have come to a grim realization that the terror bands are norespecter of religious faith. This awareness is similar to an awakening amongMuslim Imams in Canada who jointly issued a Fatwa against terrorists. TheImams, some 20 of them declared that “any attack by foreign elements shouldalso be considered a direct affront to the 10 million Muslims who call eitherCanada or the United States home. 

We want Muslims around the world whowould dare to commit terrorism on our soil to know that we stand together withall Canadians and Americans. We are asking Muslims here not only tocondemn terrorism but to also see these events as attacks on themselves.”

The successful campaign against the unholyalliance of JI and ASG brought relief to residents not only in Sulu but inBasilan. Peace advocates in Basilan were jubilant that the government forces havesucceeded in neutralizing what they termed as evil conspiracy of Godless andideologically empty terrorist elements.

While the people of Sulu and Basilan quietlycelebrate the success of the continued operation against the wicked and insaneextremist    fanatics  intelligence communities  alsoconsider the recent successful strike at the heart of the terrorist s remainingbastion as a very, very serious blow against transnational terrorism.”

For the people of Sulu, this development isa beginning of their liberation from the manacles and trepidation that the JIsand ASG have brought upon them for decades now.



by Menardo Wenceslao




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