Bomb attacks in the Philippines: JI-Abu braindrain seen
The Images of bomb components broadcast on government television and other networks show the pattern of attacks in the Southern Philippines show the handiwork of the Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiya. The lower death toll and blast effect seen also indicate that the group is building bombs from scraps and lost a lot of it’s technological capability. Arrests and operations have cut expertise – and – more importantly disrupted the ability of the group to build weapons more deadly than those used in the last three weeks. But they also indicate that more recent discoveries of more advanced and more skillfully made bombs found in places like Jolo have not been used.
These included liquid bombs, devices hidden in common household items. They have so far not been seen at least in these attacks and more traditional weapons are being seen – such as IED’s or improvised explosive devices. the reason is in part because of Philippine efforts to chase down and stop the group from being able to move men and material to potential targets. A map shown on government TV highlighted a counter terror operation that showed how step by steps a kidnapping plot in Tawi Tawi Province was ‘neutralized’.
Pursuit operations and constant pressure have put down any major training efforts going on – the outcome of which have meant devices with less blast power. Also a return to discarded or recycled scrap weapons.A Military briefing for the Philippine President Arroyo the Armed forces of the Philippines said that recent pursuit operations that resulted in the deaths of several abu sayyaf members and disrupted other plots.
Having been coving this thing for various media outlets over the last decade almost. As well as doing stories as far back as15 years ago – the change in bomb making methods have had an impact in the fighting.
At least one of the bomb blasts involved the use of 81mm or 60mm mortar shell rigged with a cell phone. A classic IED. That in this part of the world has been seen in the in Terrorism circles for some time. among the items recovered at one crime scene – a damaged cell phone – that had been at initial inspection attached to mortar bomb to create a IED.
It also shows that controls implemented on items like ammonium nitrate and fuse wire based devices – ground up fuse wire put into containers and rigged to explode was in the past a key signature of these groups. The Mortar shell – seems to have not fully exploded – indicating the makers of this device may be using old stock or Duds that failed to explode. Mindanao is littered with these old shells. In places like Iraq the IED’s are often made from more powerful 155 mm artillery shells or old Iraqi stockpiles of other devices.
The shift to more low tech devices indicate a more less inability of those groups to acquire more deadly weapons. In the past JI bomb makers had a small lab in Cotabato City which was raided and series of books on bombmaking, chemical kits, even a biological warfare handbook were recovered. But in the latest series of attacks not just the three Wednesday the types of devices used and the system of triggers that match similar devices used by the extremists in the past.But none of these far recovered more technologically advanced weapons recovered in Jolo.
Checkpoints and higher alert levels are visible all over the Philippines in the wake of Wednesday nights attacks. Fears of more attacks still persist – but – whenever attacks occur the attrition level of arrests and crackdowns seem to cut back on the groups ability to carry out missions.
High Police visibility and checkpoints will make any attempt by these groups to move about more difficult. A plus for safety – and advantage also the Philippines has is manpower to be able cope up with the needed higher levels of security.
While 8 deaths and over three dozen injuries – bring no comfort to those whose lives have been cut short by the attacks – and add on to this – those hurt in earlier attacks of the last three weeks show that the groups are still carrying out attacks. The items they have so far used are smaller and less capable. They still do a lot of damage when we see the effect in the light of day.
Showing that at least Governments efforts to cut back on the extremists capabilities have eroded – so far – the ability of the groups to carry out more damaging attacks.
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