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Archive for April 30th, 2008

Military overruns Abu, JI camp in Jolo

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By Joel Guinto
First Posted 11:51:00 04/30/2008

MANILA, Philippines — Elite Marine and Army troops overran the main camp of the al Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf and the Jemaah Islamiyah in the southern island of Jolo on Wednesday, after an overnight assault by commando units, the commander in the area said.

The assault in sitio (sub-village) Candinamon in the jungles of Indanan town “preempted” possible strikes by the extremists, said Brigadier General Juancho Sabban, chief of the Armed Forces’ counter-terrorism unit Task Force Comet.

Sabban said a “bomb-making facility” was discovered in the camp, where Abu Sayyaf leader Radullan Sahiron, and JI bomb expert Umar Patek, a suspect in the 2002 Bali bombings, were reportedly hiding, Sabban told reporters.

The extremists suffered an unconfirmed number of casualties, while there were no casualties on the government side, the official said.

“We launched a surgical attack on the camp of the Abu Sayyaf and the JI, it is their main camp. According to our information, Sahiron and Umar Patek were there,” he said.

“They were planning something big. This is a preemptive strike,” Sabban said.

After midnight on Wednesday, troops fired 105-millimeter Howitzer and mortar rounds on the extremists’ camp, and was followed by a ground assault by troops from the Marines’ Force Reconnaissance and Special Operations units, and the Army Scout Rangers and Light Reaction Company, Sabban said.

The government forces, numbering around 300, outnumbered some 200 foes, who were allegedly supported by the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), Sabban said.

Sabban said the MNLF fired mortar rounds at government troops, but stopped when told that the soldiers were after the Abu Sayyaf and the JI.

The extremists’ camp was far from the camp of MNLF commander Ajibon, but the separatist rebels thought that the military were after them, Sabban said.

The fighting ended at around 7 a.m. Wednesday, when the bandits withdrew and the troops overran the camp, Sabban said.

The soldiers were still searching the camp as of posting time.

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Written by joelguinto

Wed+00:002008-04-30T04:10:03+00:00+00:0004b+00:00Wed, 30 Apr 2008 04:10:03 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am04

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