Abu Sayaf only needs to win some time
Operations against the Abu-Sayaf terrorist group are still going on in the Philippines. The government of this country is full of determination to put an end to the terrorists forever, although there are no convincing results yet, but there is a certain progress.
Representatives of the Abu-Sayaf terrorist group have recently offered the Philippine authorities to conclude an interim armistice. In return, they promised to release a female hostage, which has been the guerrillas’ captive for several months already. It goes without saying that the offer was not made not because of humane feelings that came up all of a sudden. According to the rumors, one of the leaders of the gunmen is seriously wounded and he is in need of medical help, which is absolutely impossible to obtain in the jungles of the island of Basilan, where Abu Sayaf has its headquarters. That is why the terrorists decided to make such an offer.
Nevertheless, the real reason of the unexpected peaceable disposition of the gunmen is different. The Philippine army command has recently deployed a large military contingent on the island of Basilan. This contingent is more than enough to tighten the encirclement around the guerrillas. As a result, a lot of Abu Sayaf units found themselves in a very difficult situation, so the leaders of the terrorist group offered the government to conclude an armistice. The gunmen were hoping to brace up and then try to break the process of the warfare in their favor.
The army command, which is certain in the success of the anti-terrorist operations, rejected Abu Sayaf’s offer. The Philippine military men in their turn offered the militants to yield and release all the hostages. Abu Sayaf does not agree with that, of course. Despite the information from the Philippine government about successful operations against the gunmen, the war against the terrorists will most likely continue for a long time. Abu Sayaf does not have just a few opportunities to continue its activity. Even if they offer a truce, it does not mean that they doubt their will to fight. They just need to win time now and gain revenge. Abu Sayaf has enough forces for that.
Oleg Artyukov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov
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Read the original in Russian: http://pravda.ru/main/2002/03/25/38763.html