Philippines:Sea clash 5 Abu Sayyaf 1 JI fighters killed
The recovery of bodies when smoke cleared after the brief encounter, the bodies recovered confirmed the continued presence of a JI coordinators among the ASG members. A coordinator who is linked to Dulmatin – as reports show
” …Abu Samur, a trustee of top JI leader Dulmatin, according to Brigadier General Juancho Sabban, a marine brigade commander. The clash erupted at sea on Suturday when marines caught up with the militants near Balimbing island off Tawi–Tawi province, 1,050 kilometres south of Manila. …” DPA
The presence of the ASG in and around Tawi-Tawi is an indication of the groups efforts to shift away from the Island of Jolo and may be an indicator of the transit route used by the groups like the Abu Sayyaf and JI in the movements they make moslty by small craft in the region.
Tawi-Tawi is short hop across the border into Malaysia and further into eastern region of Indonesia. Traditionally this region is fluid and move ment across it is widespread. While Malaysia which has the best Navy of the three countries.
Malaysia has beefed up its presence in the region and also its monitoring patrols both of Sea craft and Air Assets and also it uses high tech gear like UCAV or remote piloted vehicles to be able to search the area. But thousands of small boats and vessels ply the reigon cross border smuggling is a problem that the three countries tolerate.
The US, Australia, and Philippine forces also monitor transit when requested – the US used to deploy Air based sea monitoring aircraft mostly the P-3 Orion aircraft on regular long range patrols here over the last few years and occasional over flights with permission in Philippine territory has greatly aided the level of monitoring of movement of men and communications traffic.
The Philippines also monitors cellular and when possible SAT-Phone communications per media reports and statements – which are often tell tale signs of transit paths through the area. The leadership of the Abu Sayyaf and it’s ‘guests’ from the Asian wing of Al Qaeda or Jemaah Islamiah moves around the region and is often sighted across the island
A recent bombing last week in Cotabato with three bombs -Coming two weeks after the bombing of shopping mall in Tacurong City.
 ‘… 4 hurt in Tacurong City blast Manila Standard Today, Philippines –
On Oct. 11, another bomb went off near a bank and shopping in Cotabato City, but no one was killed or injured. North Cotabato Gov. Emmanuel Piñol blamed the … ‘
The recent bombing involved three devices- two of which failed to go off and third exploding outside a restaurant show the spread of JI-ASG reach and its capability and to create problems in the Autonomous region of Muslim Mindanao or the ARMM.
The ARMM was created out of peace agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation front and is where the Philippines and many other parts of Asia hope a progressive model for peace exists in the region that can be a model for other countries like Thailand and Indonesia to deal with groups seeking peaceful solutions to separatist fights that are spread throughout the region.