Saturday, December 22, 2012

Three Snaps Up in a Circle, Miss Theng!

Psssst...little want some Nigerian yellow cake?

September 18, 2001, The Philippine Star, Sayyaf received aid from Bin Laden, by Christina Mendez,

The Abu Sayyaf leader arrested by authorities on Saturday admitted yesterday that Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden extended financial support in the past to the Islamic fundamentalist group.

Jimmy Theng made the admission as Armed Forces chief Gen. Diomedio Villanueva disclosed the military has stepped up its tactical operations in Basilan and Sulu after the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.

Villanueva said he has ordered deputy chief of staff Lt. Gen. Roy Cimatu, chief of the AFP's Southern Command, to ensure the weakening of the Abu Sayyaf to boost the country's campaign against terrorism.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan is preparing to evacuate some 600 Filipinos in the event the US launches a military offensive against Bin Laden's camps in Afghanistan.

Authorities said Theng, 31, is the "political ideologue" of the Abu Sayyaf bandits based in Tuburan, Basilan and is a member of the bandits' core group now in the Philippine Army's order of battle.

Pardon the interruption, but is the Army's "order of battle" anything like a thick intelligence dossier? This sounds more like a roster of rooster hen-names established after a season of cock-fighting (which in the Philippines may not be far from the truth. They even train horses to fight one another)

According to Army spokesman Lt. Col. Jose Mabanta, Theng admitted the Abu Sayyaf extremists were receiving financial support from Bin Laden who is the prime suspect in the terror attacks on Washington D.C. and New York on Sept. 11.

The military also uncovered a plot to attack Barangay Sta. Clara in Lamitan but Mabanta refused to divulge details about the plot nor significant information on the captured bandit leader.

Theng, who claims to be an Islamic religious teacher, told his interrogators the bandits subscribe to sowing terror in Mindanao so that people would submit to Islamic fundamentalist beliefs.

The Abu Sayyaf also uses some mosques to persuade other Muslims to help them in terrorizing residents of Basilan, especially the predominantly Christian town of Lamitan, so that they would have control of the island, Theng said.

Mabanta said the bandit leader claimed having been trained in Marawi City in 1986.

"Significantly, he revealed the (Abu Sayyaf) use mosques to propagate their belief in sowing terror in Basilan and for the total control of Lamitan and throughout Basilan," Mabanta said.

The Southcom spokesman said Theng has also admitted taking part in the raid on Lamitan town on June 2, where the bandits escaped a military cordon.

Theng was arrested at around 6:30 p.m. in Barangay Caddatan in Tuburan, only hours after two of his cohorts, identified as Daud Indaling Korong and Itang Awal Isnual, were arrested in Barangay Colonia in Lamitan.

Korong and Isnual were arrested by a joint team of police and the Army 18th Infantry Battalion, under Lt. Col. Daniel Lucero, at around 9:30 a.m. of Saturday.

The authorities said Korong, 18, and Isnual, 47, both admitted as being among those who kidnapped several people in Bolobo, Basilan, and Korong was among those who beheaded 10 of those who were abducted. He was later positively identified by the kidnapping victims.

Isnual, on the other hand, is believed to be the Abu Sayyaf’s intelligence and communications officer, who received training from the civic radio group REACT which was later used as a front by the bandit group.

The three captives are believed to be linked with Bin Laden through his brother-in-law of Mohammad Jafal Khalifa, who manages the non-government organization International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO).

The IIRO was organized in the country in 1991 as the "social arm" of the Muslim World League, which is based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

The IIRO is supposed to undertake relief and financial assistance to Filipino Muslims in terms of scholarships, construction of mosques, hospitals and orphanages.

But authorities suspect that the organization has also been involved in sending Filipino rebels, along with fundamentalist rebels from Malaysia and Indonesia, to Bin Laden's terrorist training camps in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Embassy in Islamabad is preparing to evacuate some 600 Filipinos in the event the US launches a military offensive against Bin Laden's camps in Afghanistan.

Vice Consul Jose Cabrera said all diplomatic posts in the Middle East have been placed on alert and are closely monitoring the situation of the Filipino communities there.

"It's a bit tense but calm," Cabrera said. "All diplomatic missions are monitoring the situation. Preparations are being undertaken. The situation on the ground will warrant immediate evacuation."

There are at least 200 Filipinos in Pakistan, comprised of students and contract workers employed as domestic helpers, hotel staff, medical and construction workers.

Other Filipinos are employed by various United Nations agencies or married to Pakistanis.

Cabrera said the embassy has strongly cautioned all Filipinos near the Shawag border between Afghanistan and Pakistan to leave the area at once in anticipation of the US attack.

Pakistan, one of only three countries that recognize the Taliban government of Afghanistan, has pledged support for the imminent US strike against the terrorist camps and has warned Afghanistan to surrender Bin Laden or face various sanctions.

At the same time, the Foreign Office said it has no record of Filipinos living or working in Afghanistan which has threatened to wage war on any of its neighbors who help the US.

Foreign Undersecretary Franklin Ebdalin said contingency plans are already in place and can be activated at a moment’s notice but he stressed that Filipinos should be wary of "danger areas" in the Middle East.

He identified the danger areas as Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, Israel and Iran.

"We are wary because of the presence of fundamentalist groups that might fight their governments for pledging support for the US," Ebdalin said.

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