The Philippine military has claimed it killed three senior leaders of the Jemaah Islamiyah and the al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf bandit group and 12 of their followers in an air strike early Wednesday in Sulu.
Authorities said among those killed in the air strike launched about 3 a.m. were Jemaah Islamiyah leaders Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan, a certain Mawiyah, and Umbra Jumdail alias Dr. Abu, a senior Abu Sayyaf leader.
Malacanang immediately commended the military. “We commend the AFP with this victory in the continuing fight against terrorism,” deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said.
SecurityMatters maintains that it is premature to declare a victory against terrorists in the province as lone military offensives against terrorists group have proven futile in the past. The military should take note of the latest kidnapping of two Europeans in Tawi-tawi. A Filipino photographer, who was among those initially kidnapped but escaped by jumping off the boat, said the kidnappers appeared to be on their way to Jolo.
While no individual or group has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping, small criminals groups in the area have been known to ‘sell’ their captives to other bigger groups such as the Abu Sayyaf. The latest kidnapping of foreigners crosses out whatever the national government has declared as victory.
SecurityMatters regards the capture of these terrorists and the eventual cease of all forms of terrorism in the area as the truest form of victory. Western governments are expected to consider the latest development in their travel advisories.