05 February 2012

ASG Leader Killed in Philippines - Maybe

After running a big exercise on this last year, happenings in the Philippines tend to catch my eye. This one in particular has me thinking about how to integrate village-level events into a strategic-level game.

Abu Sayyaf commander Umbra Jumdail had deviated from the brutal image of his al-Qaida-linked militant group by playing doctor to poor Filipino villagers, whose backing he needed to stay safe from military troops. But those villagers may have been used by the military to finally track him down last week.
A U.S.-backed airstrike killed Jumdail, his son and several militants while they slept in huts or hammocks Thursday near Parang town on southern Jolo island, dealing the latest blow to the Abu Sayyaf and depriving it of a key leader. Jumdail had harbored a top Southeast Asian terror suspect, Malaysian Zulkifli bin Hir, also known as Marwan.
Among the FBI's most-wanted terrorists, Marwan, a U.S.-educated engineer, had been crucial in helping turn mostly desperate peasant recruits into Abu Sayyaf bombers and training them to carry out deadly attacks.
The Philippine military had announced that the long-hunted Marwan and his Singaporean ally Abdullah Ali were killed in the air raid along with Jumdail and other Filipino extremists. Two security officials, however, said Sunday that new intelligence shows that Jumdail was killed but that the two foreign terror suspects were alive and were not in the Abu Sayyaf lair that was bombed.
Not a single body was retrieved by police in the bombed hilly jungle lair near Lanao Dakulah village, fueling different versions of who was killed.
Philippine officials, nevertheless, hailed Jumdail's death as the latest major blow to the Abu Sayyaf, which has carved its name in blood through bombings, kidnappings and beheadings. The extremist group is on Washington's list of terrorist organizations. The militants, currently estimated to number less than 400, have endured years of battle setbacks and the loss of key commanders.

By: Brant

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