Posts filed under ‘abu sayyaf’

Makati Bombings: A look back at other tragic events

Remembering other ‘Makati Bombings’


There are i m sure more incidents – but,  this is cross section of the types of attacks and some of the ones i was clearly able to find reference to online. I’ll update these over th days ahead.

The Makati Bombing Inquiry continues; I chose to call it still a bombing as theory’s of a accidental explosion may yet prove to be part of the overall impact of destruction in the area. – this was originally a comment on ‘Coffee with Amee’ -but I decide to make it a post of my own.

Meaning, as investigators have told me in interviews there was more than one explosion. A primary- and a secondary. What they are worried over is that the secondary explosion – yes there were two – may have been strong enough to scatter evidence from the first and add its own signature to the overall forensic investigation.

In rpeorts I’ve written for a news organization – the event status of the investigation a few items I’ve put on the site of mikeinmanila.info;

Raised the overall history of terror attacks at the Philippines premier shopping district that go back to the late 1970’s-1980’s. Rustan’s and Shoemart package counters were the favorite target then – so were the food courts. But – who were behind those attacks – people died were hurt and injured some say it was ‘justified’ because at the time it was revolution versus a dictatorship- yet the injured were hurt just the same. Yrt, there has never been any remorse said by those who took part- If you wonder where they are today – don’t look far – they are on your T.V. sets. One is in charge of children’s programs for major TV network. Yet that is the past…

[] …A terrorist group calling itself the April 6 Liberation Movement, after a massive 1978 anti-Marcos demonstration in Manila, had warned the travel agents to boycott the convention. Even though terrorists had set off some 20 bombs since August, killing one person and injuring scores,..

The April 6 Movement is the most visible, and most violence-prone, member of a new constellation of radical opposition groups that is sometimes called the Third Force, because it is both anti-Marcos and antiCommunist. The Third Force is composed mainly of middle-class Filipinos, [] TIME

I also remeber in the 1990’s the attack on the greenbelt theater by Al Qaeda’s early cell in manila – headed by Khalid Sheik mohamad and ramsey Youseff. The greenbelt theater was hit although damage was minimal there were injuries.

[] Dec. 1, 1994, Greenbelt Theater, Manila, Philippines, Ramzi Yousef (Organizer), Khalid Shaikh Mohammed – “This detonation was a test run for a bombing timer Yousef had built. ” [] Source: United States vs. Ramzi Yousef, et. al. indictment.

Participants Ramzi Yousef (Organizer) , Khalid Shaikh Mohammed (Facilitator) , Wali Khan Amin Shah (Facilitator)
Participants Abdul Hakim Murad (Facilitator)

Gangs have had grenade attacks and one or two disco’s were shot up and bombed as well over the decades. But, most peoples memories dont go back that far – most only remember for example the 2005 Valentines day and the Rizal day bombings of 2000.

But it is important to also mention the Makati’ bomb squad has prevented numerous attempts most go unreported – others are overlooked- two officers I knew and still remember ran with a bomb in December 2000 saving perhaps hundreds from injury taking the bomb to a then empty lot across EDSA from the Dusit -giving their lives to try and defuse a bomb there. it had been placed near SM Makati and the Dusit Hotel.

They saved perhaps as many as were lost in Fridays blast but there is little mention of SPO4 Roberto Gutierrez or Inspector Nestor Salvador, now, they got the medal of valor in 2001. Both died in the explosion of a bomb left by Jemaah Islamiah,
Scores of these attacks take place many often foiled, when something does happen though
– people are quick to judge, putting it in the politics of the moment. In 2000 the attacks helped fuel public anger versus then President Estrada – who – in that particular case was innocent – I stood with Erap at Chinese medical center when he visited a boy we later called Emanuel, he must be about twelve now – I saw tears in Estrada’s eyes – even in the police and PSG with him – yet my editors and producers – ironically still working at the TV network, refused my story since they had their own minds made up as to ‘who dun it’.
Fathur Roman Al Ghozi the mastermind was initially ignored by media in his attempts to claim responsibility – months later; after EDSA 2 people finally realized the bombings were the work of JI or Jemaah Islamiah. To to those spinning this for politcal benifit.
There is little from this though to comfort those who lost someone – or a part of themselves at blast scene of these kind of attacks or tragic accident what-ever it turns out to be or a combination of both.

I’ll wait for the investigation and continue to file my reports lets just hope those with their own agenda’s don’t spin this thing out of control. or in the madness of chaos of terrorism sometimes political pundits and spin doctors will use anything to push their own agenda in the face of tragedy for their clients own ends.

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October 23, 2007 at 4:18 am 1 comment

Philippines:Twin Bombing kills child injures dozens
Mike Cohen, PNC Correspondent 05.OCT.07
12:30p.m. UPDATE One child was killed and another two dozen are injured, some in critical condition. All are the victims of ‘twin explosions’ on commercial buildings near the center of the Southern Philippine city of Kidapawan in Cotabato Province.

Two IED’s, or improvised explosive devices, were used in the attack. The first a smaller device to scatter a crowd into a street towards a second larger device in front of Sugni Super Store, a large department store in the city.

‘The shrapnel scattered at ground level indicated by a large amount of leg and feet wounds.’ Chief Insp. Leo Ajero
speaking in a radio interview told DZXL radio in Manila.
Regional police counter terrorism experts suspect bombers from the Al Qaeda Asia franchise, Jemaah Islamiah, who are known to follow a pattern of closely coordinated attacks. [more]

October 5, 2007 at 10:54 pm Leave a comment

War Stories in Jolo – Fox News covers reward vs. ASG

FOX News war stories host Oliver North and team are covering the events down south a good first live report on Hanity and Combs of Fox is on the fox news website. (more…)

June 8, 2007 at 4:45 pm Leave a comment

Philippine Call center gets SMS bomb threat – false alarm but…

A call center based in the former Fort Bonifacio area of Taguig was the subject of the bomb threat that led to the evacuation of over 2,000 employee’s Monday night.

Identified in media reports as the Amber Creek company – Police and security officials were quick to downplay the threat – even after extensive EOD, Swat, and private security anti-terrorism units were deployed to area – per official reports no device was found.

Call center in Taguig gets bomb threat

Call center in Taguig gets bomb threat

The disruption to service comes as call centers are facing increasing problems of rising costs on a weaker US dollar – this days trading at 45 pesos to the Dollar has some BPO companies looking at a serious level of cost saving s of being  set up in the Philippines on contracts based at a time when the US dollar was almost  at 57 pesos to one greenback.

However -the weaker Dollar means that costs are even higher than the Philippines in other outsourced areas such as Ireland and Canada – today Canada’s dollar traded at 92 cents Canadian to one greenback – the costs savings of basing in Canada for some US outsourced firms has lessened to point that many are shifting back to back-up zones in places like Nevada and Connecticut – where wages are lower actually than Toronto and Quebec in general with the new exchange rate levels expected to see a ‘Canuk’ dollar reaching equality with its south of the border US cousins at nearly the same level in the month or so some predict.

Overall outsourcing has become such a investment draw to the region – the philippines in particular is now seen as the top investment destination in the region with vietnam coming in at close second. Or so Japan’s Nikkei reports.

However last night terror related incident seems to have been a false alarm – the idea of threat to such a vital industry here was clearly not lost on security firms who grabbed cameras and prevent as much as they could media’s reporting on anything related to the incident as much as they could. The whole area is private property even if it is a public place.

It is the sum of all fears for couturiers like the Philippines now seen a prime investment destination because of its ability to bounce back from bombing spree’s and other problems that has made it an attractive destination for many industries including IP based services – yet fears remain as clear as the worried faces of officials who laughed off the insident as a prank – that may have been a worker trying to get off work early.

Yet – privately knowing the fickle nature of clients these centers represent threats or actual incidents could result in contract displacement or termination.

You can be sure authorities are keeping an eye on the possibility that the threat is being closely looked at considering warnings over possible JI-Abu Sayyaf  teams in Manila  as also some group attempting to test and gauge response times and study evacuation plans.

Experts I have talked to are closely looking into that possible….  idea that there may be more here than meets the eye even the possibility of business rivals seeking to disrupt services or disgruntled employee’s seeking notoriety.

We’ll keep an eye on this one and see what happens – if it was a prank as it seems to be – then the person who sent the bogus threat should be found, punished, and charged for whatever possible crime is available in the law books. Afterall text messages are admissible as evidence in court.

Let’s see where this goes….

May 23, 2007 at 1:20 am 2 comments

International Poll Watchers in Mindanao: Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia

A group of 21 poll watchers from Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia have set up shop in Mindanao to look over the Philippine election process,

The observer mission is being coordinated by the Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL) and supported with funding from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and the Asia Foundation.

In all some 219 observers from the US, EU, Canada, the UK and the UN are looking at the conduct of the election process. Some have also come to learn how to watch and what to look for in election related issues and concerns for when elections take place in their own countries.

 

For this group of mostly Muslim observers during their deployment in the ARMM, the observer team members will be hosted by six local Muslim civil society groups that have signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) on April 3, 2007.

The goal is make sure that this group gets a chance to see what is going on and report any irregularities if any are found in the conduct of the polls. The observers for this group from Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia – come from countries that do also have elections – however have very different government systems –

Hence each of the observers do bring some issues from their home countries that does show more localized understanding than many western observers – Pakistan for example – is run by former general who took power after a coup. Bangladesh – just had a major upheaval with local political reform being meted out by a sweeping move at anti-corruption and very public arrests of old styled political figures and oligarch’s there. Thailand – well – we all so that coup however peaceful – it still does not have democratically elected leadership at this time – although elections are promised and expected soon there and a major Islamic insurgency is ongoing. Indonesia – like the Philippines is dealing with post dictatorship adjustments to democratic space – and so far it has done well – its government is elected. Malaysia is a democracy – but – still has some post Mahathir issues – reform there seems close at hand with the changes made so far and freedom given to people like Anwar Ibrihim.

Sri Lanka is also facing insurgency – seperatists Tamils hold a mjaor section of the country – but for the most part is a democracy: .

 

 

May 9, 2007 at 11:21 am Leave a comment

Tacurong blast – reports say JI behind bombing

Police in the Philippines think a earlier attempt to bomb a police station on April -and – The suspect they have in that failed attack on a Police Station is behind todays bombing of a billard hall at the Tucurong City market

Police are hunting down is id ntified as Edris Sabal for the failed bombing. Sabal is suspected of having links to the Jemaah Islamiyah terrorists from Indonesia led by Umar Patek and Dulmatin – both men are on the US governments most wanted terrorist lists.

Today’s bombing followed the discovery of another explosive in Banga, South Cotabato on Friday.

As well as a Bomb being dellivered exploding on a motorcycle as would be bombers tried to transport it. two men were killed in the blast.

The blast Tuesday comes six days before the Philippine midterm elections and two weeks after the US, UK, and Austalian embassies in Manila warned its citizens to avoid going to public areas in Mindanao after it received information of an imminent terrorist threat.

JI terrorists, politics could be behind Tacurong blast – report
GMA news.tv, Philippines – Meanwhile, as of 9:30 pm Tuesday, there had been no travel advisory from foreign embassies in the Philippines due to the blast. – GMANews.TV.

» (Update) Bomb blast kills 4, injures over 30 others

» AFP: 3 dead, 30 hurt in Tacurong explosion

Tacurong has been targeted by bomb attacks in recent years,

In January 2003, eight people were killed while 33 others, two of them children, were critically wounded after an unidentified man hurled a grenade at the city’s plaza filled with New Year revelers. Two months later, another blast in Tacurong killed a man and wounded two others. In October 2006, two people died and at least four people were injured when a bomb went off at a public market in the city.

Five killed in bomb attack in southern Philippines Reuters AlertNet
At least three dead in bomb blast in southern Philippines (Roundup) Monsters and Critics.com
Five Killed in Bomb Attack in Southern Philippines Javno.hr
all 19 news articles »

It is known as part of area called the ‘classroom’ by counter terrorism experts in Asia. A majority Christian city that was built on the outskirts of large American agribusiness plantations of Dole and Del Monte – aside from successful bomb attempts over 70 foiled attempts have been foiled and items recovered show a roadmap of bomb making that reaches Iraq, Afghanistan, and, Indonesia – based – on bomb designs. A large number of IED R&D design work is done in the area which is about a two hour drive from a major rebel conflict zone.
.

May 9, 2007 at 12:18 am Leave a comment

US, UK, and, Australia : Issue ‘Terror alerts’ over “Democracy RP style”

It was a strange read but somewhat a fact of life for expatriates here in the Philippines to steer clear of street protests and election rallies taking place in the country.

It is actually a crime for any foreigner to take part in actively the Political process and only properly registered foreign journalists, as well as political observers and diplomats are allowed into polling places. So picture taking is however jovial or festive it may seem is something to do outside of polling places – also to avoid any potential problems – never inside anywhere voting is taking place for foreigners.

I know a lot of foreign tourists often do picture tking and make vacation event out of looking in and seeing for themselves. There is very little risk – most place are very secure – but… ‘be careful or avoid it if you can.” per US, UK, EU, and most other government embassy websites.

Also any financial support is banned, no mater how worthy the cause may seem. If you are an expat here – this is a good time to take a shopping trip to Subic or Clark trade zones – or perhaps try the budget fares to Singapore or HK or go on vacation at some island resort. However the new warning is specific also about the last part of the suggestions I have made – a warning – versus remote island resorts and dive boats.

[] “…“Mid-term elections will be held in the Philippines on 14 May 2007. There is the potential for politically-motivated violence during the election period,” it said in its advisory (www.britishembassy.gov.uk).
The UK advisory came a week after the Australian government issued a similar advisory warning its citizens against going to political rallies. …” []  http://www.Gmanews.tv

Sadly both the US and UK gave a blanket warning on the entire Mindanao region. US official persons- ie diplomats and aid workers – now need special permission to travel anywhere in Mindanao per US embassy release.

[] “…
A bit of overkill – While there are trouble spots – the entire island half the size of the England is far from being a trouble zone – some parts – but not all. It should be revised to be more specific. Davao City and General Santos as well as Cagayan de Oro are while sometimes ‘eventful’ hardly conflict zones. Also thousands of US nationals live these areas. both Fil-Am and otherwise.

[]” … people who reside in or visit areas that face terrorist threats,
such as in Mindanao, travel with their own security force, avoid an
obvious presence, or both.  In some areas of the Philippines,
especially in Mindanao, visitors should avoid travel at night outside
metropolitan areas.  U.S. Government employees must seek special
permission for travel to Mindanao or the Sulu Archipelago.  When
traveling in Mindanao, U.S. official travelers attempt to lower their
profile, limit their length of stay, and exercise extreme caution.  …” []

US embassy travel warning

Actually Compton and other gang filled cities in Los Angeles county and say North Las Vegas or San Francisco’s Hunter point area at night probably are more violent on a friday night than Davao City or any major city in Mindanao. The US attitude however is to err on the side caution always in its warnings after nine – eleven but to lable the entire region as risky – would be like saying – Jersey City is dangerous because of organized crime.

Political rallies can be colorful and often are a highlight of entertainment and public speaking by leaders in locals communities – watching from a distance might be safer – large crowds often can be unpredictable – and – pickpockets and petty crime is sometimes a problem. Violence is also a risk. IED bomb attacks numbered 98 last yar alone throughout the Philippines – although most were in areas of conflict in Southern Mindanao’s Sulu Islands. Philippine security forces defused double that number through out the country preventing over 100 attacks – hence – yes – bombs are a real risk and large crowds pose a tempting target. One need only remember the Madrid train bombings which happened just days before Spanish elections to see that risk as real and not imagined.

A similar plot was fouled by Police a few days before – Madrid’s deadly attacks – when 80 ready to use back-pack bombs werer uncovered along with RPG BP40 rockets in very suburban wuezon city in 2004.  One bomb did get thrugh and destroyed a huge inter island ferry that same year during the 2006 super ferry bombing which killed 100.

Election related violence is a key issue in many races – throughout the country.

13 days to E-day: Violence looms as key issue

I think what embassy’s are doing are just taking precautions for their nationals sake and trying to be as safe rather than sorry – but – still perhaps more detailed warnings rather than blanket alerts would be better. To be honest with you there are I times when traveling in say Cotabato and Maguidanao I feel safer than in some parts of South Central LA at night. MS13 for example has killed more people than the Abu Sayyaf has this year – and – other gang related killings have made many US cities as war torn as Afghanistan without the IED’s and roadside bombs-. So safety is relative to where you are a college campus in Virgina or a street in Manila its always good to be safe and secure.

Another topic noted the threat of terror attacks during the elections was a possible  event to be mindful of as groups might use security forces preoccupation with the election process as a chance to sow terror.

[]”…“We continue to believe that terrorists and criminal elements plan to kidnap foreign tourists from islands and coastal areas in the southern Philippines – i.e. Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago. Kidnappings from other parts of the Philippines cannot be discounted. Boats traveling to and from offshore islands and dive sites are possible targets,” “[] . British embassy warning

US warning:

[]”… U.S. citizens contemplating travel to the Philippines should carefully onsider the risks to their safety and security while there, including  those due to terrorism.  While travelers may encounter such threats nywhere in the Philippines, the southern island of Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago are of particular concern.  Travelers should exercise extreme caution in both central and western Mindanao as well as in the Sulu Archipelago.

Kidnap for ransom gangs operate in the Philippines.  In January 2007,
one such gang abducted two U.S. citizen children outside their home in
Tagum City, Davao Del Norte, in Mindanao.  The New People’s Army
(NPA), another terrorist organization, operates in many rural areas of
the Philippines, including in the northern island of Luzon.  While it
has not targeted westerners in several years, the NPA could threaten
U.S. citizens engaged in business or property management activities,
and it often demands “revolutionary taxes.”

Terrorist groups, such as the Abu Sayyaf Group and the Jema’ah
Islamiyah, and groups that have broken away from the more mainstream  Moro Islamic Liberation Front or Moro National Liberation Front have carried out bombings resulting in deaths, injuries and property damage.

Recent incidents have occurred in urbanized areas in
Mindanao.  On January 10, 2007, separate bombings in the cities of
Kidapawan, Cotabato and General Santos killed seven people and injured 1.  While these incidents do not appear to have targeted Westerners  or Western interests, travelers should remain vigilant and avoid ongregating in public areas.

Many people who reside in or visit areas that face terrorist threats,
such as in Mindanao, travel with their own security force, avoid an
obvious presence, or both.  In some areas of the Philippines,
especially in Mindanao, visitors should avoid travel at night outside
metropolitan areas.  U.S. Government employees must seek special
permission for travel to Mindanao or the Sulu Archipelago.  When
traveling in Mindanao, U.S. official travelers attempt to lower their
profile, limit their length of stay, and exercise extreme caution.

The Department strongly encourages Americans in the Philippines to
register with the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Manila
through the State Department’s travel registration website,
https://travelregistration.state.gov. The U.S. Embassy is located at:
1201 Roxas Boulevard, Manila, Philippines, tel. 63-2-528-6300. The
Consular American Citizen Services (ACS) section’s fax number is
63-2-522-3242 and the ACS web page is at
http://usembassy.state.gov/posts/rp1/wwwhmain.html.  … “[]

May 2, 2007 at 11:14 am Leave a comment

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