Extremists flock to Mindanao.
PICS: plus.org and Fox news
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A large number of countries are witnessing bloody struggles normally involving terrorist organizations. It is true that the fighting skills and capabilities of the extremists are becoming further refined with each passing day. So also are the skills of the security forces, since no country can afford to remain ill-equipped.
Since, Islamist terrorism is more widespread, it is very easy for them to relocate to other parts when facing reverses. Moreover, being religion-based, there is no problem in forming connections with other Islamist groups in the name of holy war.
This is the main reason why the Moro groups in the Philippines are closely interlinked and potent in their firepower.
Therefore, observers predict a tougher time for the security forces in the Philippines in the foreseeable future. The topography, the history and other demographic realities of southern Philippines make it an ideal base camp for terror groups.
The terrain is tough to control while there is a general atmosphere of lawlessness in these regions. All the major and minor terror groups, in spite of their differences, maintained links. In fact, that was the secret to their survival against the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
Milipol is an annual event organized by GIE Milipol with the collaboration of many governmental agencies. It is an organization on the theme of homeland security with a high degree of expertise.
The event held in 2015 attracted:
• 949 exhibiting companies,
• They hailed from 55 countries,
• 24056 visitors went to the exhibition and
• There were 77 participating nations and 115 delegations
The next edition is the 20th and will take place at Paris-Nord Villepinte Exhibition Centre. The date finalized is 21-24 November 2017.
The lifestyle of the people in the Philippines has been that of grabbing onto all and anything that makes them rich. In that race, an unfortunate tendency to keep morals aside developed in the poor people. Hence, all sorts of corrupt practices started being an acceptable form of behavior.
With the government forces unable to strike effectively, the decay of the morals of the community took a stranglehold. In such a scenario, everyone who was someone went all out to take his pound of flesh.
Hence, this resulted in a free for all with everyone making hay while they could. In addition, the extortion by the rebels also persuaded some to lead that kind of a life. Thus, easy money became the norm.
With the Moros, the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), the New People’s Army and others ruling the roost, illegal activities thrived. Consequently, all the terror groups made themselves comfortable in rural, difficult terrains.
That is why, whenever the terror groups felt the heat, they made a beeline for regions like Mindanao where they could operate with disdain. It is very easy to get hold of the armaments of your choice with remarkable ease.
The speakers at the MILIPOL conference in Singapore expressed this opinion. The IS in a recent announcement, informed that they were forming an East Asian division in southern Philippines.
This region in the south of the Philippines is the ideal place for extremists of all hues to lead a comfortable life of sin and corruption. Weary fighters of the South East Asian chapter of Islamic State escaping from the Middle East are seeking refuge here.
MILIPOL on Tuesday announced that the Islamic State is organizing a regrouping of it forces since they will not be disturbed here. Rohan Gunaratna, an expert on counter-terrorism gave this information during this conference.
This is likely to tilt the balance in the region in favor of the terror groups who pose a problem of dangerous proportions. As it is, This region has all the ingredients that an extremist would look for in his search for a safe haven.
Already a dreaded area causing trouble for Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines by frequent kidnappings of small cargo ships, this move portends much worse times for the security agencies.
Moreover, Singapore’s Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam echoed this opinion to the AFP authorities. It will become a beehive of training camps and hideouts for the most notorious and wanted criminals.
It is learnt that the other smaller terrorist groups are already welcoming the IS by announcing tie-ups with it.
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Written for: Lars-Magnus Carlsson
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 05, 2017