Troops Patrol Basilan As D-Day Nears

July 29, 2007 at 9:46 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / 29 Jul) – Philippine soldiers have doubled security patrols Sunday in the southern island of Basilan as the military readies its forces to arrest Moro rebels behind the killing of 14 marines, ten of them beheaded, in fierce clashes.

More than 2,000 soldiers are now on the island as part of task force that will carry out the arrest after a court released the warrants. The military has given until Tuesday investigators to look into the beheading of the soldiers in Al-Barka town.

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front, which is negotiating peace with Manila, admitted killing the soldiers, but denied beheading them. It also rejected a military demand to turn over those behind the attack.

Marine Col. Ramiro Alivio, commander of military forces in Basilan, said “intelligence operations and security patrols” were continuing but that there have been no large-scale movement of forces by either side and no armed contact have been recorded as of Sunday.

The news of impending punitive actions against the MILF has triggered an exodus of civilians with more than 5,000 people fleeing their homes in Al-Barka town and nearby areas.

Intelligence reports have implicated political warlords and their private armies in the beheading of the soldiers. (With a report from Mark Navales)

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