RealNews

Al Qaeda Affiliate Training Indonesians On Philippine Island

A regional terrorist network linked to al Qaeda has continued to train its militants in the southern Philippines, aided by local Muslim separatists, police and intelligence sources said. The militants, all Indonesians, are training at a camp established three years ago and now operating under the protection of rebels from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, according to intelligence sources and a summary of the interrogation of Taufiq Rifqi, an Indonesian militant who was captured here last month. Rifqi’s testimony startled Philippine officials, who assumed they had deprived al Qaeda’s Southeast Asian affiliate, Jemaah Islamiah, of its primary training ground three years ago when government soldiers overran its base. It also raises the stakes for peace talks aimed at ending the 31-year insurgency on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao. Diplomatic and security sources said a peace deal could close Mindanao as a vital center for the training and transit of foreign terrorists — what a Western official in Manila called “a kind of Afghanistan east.” Full Story

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