Sunday, October 9, 2016

US yet to give notice on pullout of troops in Zamboanga City -- PA chief

From the Philippine News Agency (Oct 9): US yet to give notice on pullout of troops in Zamboanga City -- PA chief

Philippine Army (PA) head Lt. Gen. Eduardo Ano on Sunday said that the US government is still to give notice that it is pulling out its 107 personnel in Zamboanga City.

He made this statement in wake of reports that a US C-17 transport aircraft has landed in the Zamboanga City airport to pick up equipment of American troops currently deployed in the locality.

"The US government is still to give a notice regarding a pull-out, so they are still there," Ano added in Filipino.

When asked if whether a US pullout would have any bearing on Philippine counter-terror efforts, the PA commander said operations against terror groups in Mindanao will continue as forces have been setup for the neutralization of these lawless groups.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier said US troops in Mindanao should leave as they could be kidnapped by the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) terrorists.

These American personnel are providing intelligence, technical and training to Filipino counter-terrorist forces.

American presence in the area started in 2003 with the creation of Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines which was tasked to provide anti-terror training to the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Currently, US military personnel in Mindanao only amounts to 107 with all of them concentrated at Western Mindanao Command headquarters at Camp Don Basilio Navarro, Calarian, Zamboanga City.

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