From The Standard (Jan 6): Saudi roundup nets 3 Filipino ‘jihadists’
THE military said Tuesday it was trying to verify reports that three suspected Filipino jihadists were among 44 people arrested in Saudi Arabia in a weeklong anti-terrorism operation last December.
“We’re now coordinating with the DFA [Department of Foreign Affairs]... to identify the reported three Filipinos. As of now, we’ve no details yet,” Colonel Restituto Padilla, spokesman of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, said.
Arab News reported that Saudi security forces launched a series of special operations in December that resulted in the arrest of 44 suspects, “including three Filipinos, five Syrians, four Yemenis, a Sudanese and 31 Saudis.”
Colonel Restituto Padilla
“The largest number of arrests were made on the first day of the operation, with 10 Saudis and one Yemeni being arrested. Nine suspects, including three Syrians were arrested the following day,” it said.
“Ten suspects were rounded up on the fifth day of the operation, including seven Saudis, a Yemeni, a Sudanese and a Syrian,” it added.
Earlier, reports said that Islamic terrorists brandishing the flags of terrorists in Iraq and Syria had been recruiting and training recruits in Mindanao.
Videos and photographs of the alleged training were posted on the Internet.
The military and the Palace, however, have denied the presence of terrorist training camps in Mindanao.
Padilla dismissed the videos and photographs as part of the terrorists’ recruitment propaganda.
A high-ranking military intelligence official who spoke on condition of anonymity said the three Filipinos arrested were not directly recruited from the Philippines, but had probably been in Saudi Arabia for some time.
Provincial police, meanwhile, said an alleged member of the Abu Sayyaf Group involved in several kidnappings and the ambush against a vice mayor in December was arrested Monday in Patikul, Sulu.
The police identified the suspect as Jummi Jumala, who was now temporarily detained at the provincial police office.
The Patikul police said they received information regarding the presence of Jumala, and asked for help from the Alpha Company of the Army’s 35th Infantry Battalion.
Sulu Task Group commander Brig. Gen. Alan Arrojado cleared the request for support and joined the arresting team.
Arrojado said Jumala is a “known ASG member” with pending criminal cases filed in court.
Jumala was also being sought for the ambush of Vice Mayor Jun Tarsum and series of killings in Jolo and Patikul.
Jumala was also involved in several kidnapping operations of the ASG, the police said.
Great God, this is against the teachings of Islam. A Muslim should only fight the one who fights him; and children, women, and the elderly should be spared. There is no terrorism in jihad or a threat to civilians.
Of course, the BIFF’s spokesman denied they have killed civilians. He clarified that those slain were members of the Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGUs), who he said are fair targets. We have not verified who is telling the truth, the military or the BIFF.
However, if the intention of the BIFF in launching these attacks is for media mileage, then it must not be at the expense of civilians. It is counter-productive and will not bring them any glad tiding. Under no circumstances, killing of civilians can be justified.
The MILF never wanted these unfortunate incidents to happen at all, but there is no way it can stop them. The BIFF is a separate group and does not take orders from the MILF. In fact, in a way, the BIFF was a protest action of its founder, the late Ameril Omra Kato, against the moderate stance of the MILF in solving the armed mess in Mindanao. It came into being in 2008 after the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) was not signed by the government, after it was initialed by government and MILF peace negotiators on July 27, 2008.
Habitual non-compliance of obligations by the government directly provide food to the radicals’ appetite, who after all want the peace negotiations to fail. Radicals, who promote narrow and superficial misinterpretations of what they hold true, do not believe in peaceful ways to resolve conflicts. They best thrive --- and enjoy --- in chaos, uncertainty, and destruction.
In the heels of the non-passage of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in Congress, the radicals are laughing to their hearts full. They expect many hardliners to troop to and swell their ranks.