Abu Sayyaf at it again.
PICS Courtesy: Freeimages.com
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The President of the Philippines is a very lonely man. While he has detractors like the United States, the United Nations and others to contend with local worries are many.
His reputation is at stake both locally and internationally since the responses from trouble spots are not really encouraging.
The communists, known as the protectors of the masses, are playing truant possibly at the hands of their younger leaders.
The Abu Sayyaf continues its nefarious activities with disdain; it’s a murky picture all around. Furthermore, they are belligerent and openly scoffing at any attempt at peace.
Their response to the President’s appeals is on the same lines too. They have mocked the latest attempt by the President to ensure some peace during Christmas.
Overlooking mockery is possible and one may not complain; they are provocative through disruptive activities. The President appealed for observing a holiday break; he got just such a response.
They abducted four more in Sulu to show their vehemence. I hope that the UN rapporteur is watching.
Agnes Callamard is acting like a shield to the bandits. Her threatened visit is the Sword of Damocles hanging over the fate of the Philippines. She disregards the good of the masses. It suits the US and the Abu Sayyaf.
What good are the human rights if the country suffers?
Or, are the human rights only for the rich countries and the bandits?
The latest abduction took place at Celebes Sea on Tuesday around 02:30 AM. They took away four crew members of the FM Ramona, a fishing boat.
Spokesman for the Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom) Major Filemon Tan Jr. apprised the newsmen about the kidnapping.
He did not specifically mention the Abu Sayyaf while narrating the incident. Such kidnappings are a regular occurrence in these areas and Abu Sayyaf is usually responsible.
In addition, the targets in the high seas hail from Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.
Tan identified the victims as:
- Noel Besconde, the Captain of the boat,
- Roy Ramos, Crewman,
- Roel Liones, Crewman and
- Reyjim Rocabo, Engine Mechanic and.
These victims are local residents of the town of Tukuran of Zamboanga del Sur province.
The incident came to light when the crew of a sister raised an alert ship FB Melissa. The crew of FB Ramona had failed to respond to all calls since the early hours of Tuesday.
They physically proceeded to the last known location of the FB Ramona to verify the facts. The crewmen had disappeared. The bandits also took away from the FB Ramona a GPS device and an interactive radio.
FB Ramona engaged in Tuna fishing in the Mindanao region.
The authorities swung into action and the anti-kidnapping Joint Task Force Sulu began a frantic search at possible hideouts. Even the Naval Task group took immediate action.
But, these are all everyday happenings in that region. Basilan, a neighboring province is also on the lookout. A big manhunt is on in the region.
But, these efforts do not always fructify.
This is not the first time that the defiant bandits have gone out of their way to challenge the President. They created a blast in Davao City earlier this year just to show their dominance and capabilities.
Davao City happens is Duterte’s fortress and pride.
The fact is that the kidnapping seems a part of their defiant attitude. They know that Agnes Callamard, the UN rapporteur, with the blessings of the United States and the United Nations, will immediately cry murder.
Therefore, the Government of the Philippines faces a catch-22 situation. They can neither swallow nor spit out the bandits till they please the United States.
Just asking the bandits to take a break from the violence prompted this kidnapping, observers feel. That was on December 17th.
Meanwhile, Duterte continues to appeal to their goodness since the Christians would like a respite from the bloody campaign. Moros are Muslims while NPA is a mixed group.
Peace is everyone’s cherished goal particularly during festivals, he added. The insensitive bandits do not seem to realize this.
Meanwhile, Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam and Malaysia continue efforts to make the surrounding seas safer.
But, Abu Sayyaf is an established name with a stranglehold on the region. They resort to violence, extortion, and kidnappings to keep their revenues intact in the otherwise impoverished countryside.
It is not easy to give up this never-ending source of income.
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Monday, December 19, 2016
Written for: Lars-Magnus Carlsson