Security forces April 14 raided a marijuana plantation and arrested four people in the southern Philippine island province of Sulu, Mindanao region. Police said some 1,500 plants were uprooted in the hinterlands of Talipao municipality. A military statement linked the militant Abu Sayyaf group to the plantation. The identities of those arrested were unknown, but police said investigations are underway.
Abu Sayyaf is believed to get most of its funding through kidnappings-for-ransom. In 2001, the group kidnapped 21 mostly Western vacationers in a cross-border raid in Malaysia’s eastern state of Sabah and ransomed off the hostages to Libya, which negotiated for their release. (Mindanao Examiner, April 14)
See our last post on Mindanao.
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More mayhem in Mindanao
Unidentified gunmen stormed a plywood factory in Basilan and abducted three workers, a day after Abu Sayyaf militants beheaded a school principal they had been holding catptive for three weeks on nearby Jolo Island. President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has ordered troops to step up military operations against the militant group. (Reuters, Nov. 10; Reuters, NYT, Nov. 9)