RealNews

Philippine military says armed threats on decline

The Philippine military has degraded the capability and strengths of terrorist and rebel forces in the country last year, a military official said Monday. The number of Jemaah Islamiyah elements in the country as of end 2004 is now 33, a 17-percent decrease from the 2003 figure of 40, military Spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Buenaventura Pascual said, quoting a briefing paper by the intelligence community. “The present strength includes 32 Indonesian and one Malaysian.They have 21 assorted firearms utilized mainly for training purposes,” said Pascual, who attributed the decrease to intensified campaign against the southeast Asian regional terrorist network which led the Rizal bombing on Dec. 30, 2000 in Manila, which killed at least 22 and injured scores of others. On the other hand, the military placed the strength of the Abu Sayyaf by end of 2004 at 425 or an 11.27 percent decrease from itsstrength of 479 in 2003. Its firearms were placed at 378, down by 5.02 percent from its 2003 figure of 398. Full Story

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