CATHOLIC BISHOP MARTIN JUMOAD URGES PHILIPPINES PRESIDENT TO DESTROY TERRORIST GROUP
“Abu Sayyaf is a terrorist group and it is not for dialogue,” Bp. Martin Jumoad of Isabela said, adding that the group needs to be “dismantled and apprehended.”
His statement came after Muslim separatists beheaded a teenaged boy on August 24 in the town of Indanan in Sulu province. The death came after his family couldn’t pay a ransom of one million pesos (US $21,500).
Jumoad mentions that the military should aggressively pursue the terrorists and that he understands the need for bloodshed to protect the people in the event the militants refuse to willingly give themselves up.
Bishop Jumoad said, “My heart bleeds upon learning of the beheading of the 18-year-old boy. The government must stop and destroy this group,” adding that he hopes newly elected president Rodrigo Duterte will be successful in stopping the terrorists.
“Since 1990 until now, the government has not eliminated the Abu Sayyaf,” he continued, “The bandits are just laughing at the order of the president. I hope the order of President Duterte will be executed by the military.”
The separatist insurgency was formed in the 1990s with seed money from Osama Bin Laden’s Al Qaeda network and has earned millions of dollars from kidnappings for ransom. It is believed they currently hold more than 20 hostages. The president has been calling on them for two months to lay down their arms, but they’ve rejected his call. Duterte’s approach has since become more aggressive.
He has vowed to destroy the militant organization, which has declared allegiance to the Islamic State. The government deployed an additional 2,500 troops Tuesday to fight the group.
When asked about the beheading of the teenage boy in a press briefing in Davao City, in southern Mindanao, Duterte answered, “That’s why I’m sending the troops there and tell them to destroy them.”
He added, “My orders to the police and to the armed forces against all enemies of the state, seek them out in their lairs, whatever, and destroy them.”
Ernesto Abella, the president’s spokesman, said, “The president is focused on making sure that the threat from the Abu Sayyaf group should be terminated as soon as possible.”
Referring to the Muslim separatists, Duterte said again last week, “Go out and destroy them. Kill whoever they are.”
A military spokesman said there were an estimated 480 militants, but there could be more. Previous presidents have also promised to wipe out the Muslim insurgents but have been unsuccessful, even with United States aid. The U.N. Security Council has blacklisted Abu Sayyaf for its ties to al-Qaeda.
Since his election to the presidency, Duterte has been in conflict with the Catholic Church. Church leaders have expressed concern over his shoot-to-kill list of 600 drug dealers and other criminals. In response, Duterte has promised he will destroy the Church.
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