The Abu Sayyaf and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) joined forces in ambushing the Marines on their way home and later beheaded and mutilated some of them.
True or false?
False. There were no Abu Sayyaf bandits among the ambushers, according to my informant, a military intelligence agent.
My unimpeachable source said the attackers were members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the men of former Basilan Gov. Wahab Akbar whose wife is now the incumbent governor.
The Abu Sayyaf bandits, who were holding Italian priest Giancarlo Bossi, were nowhere near the area as they were running away from their military pursuers.
The MILF and Akbar’s men ambushed the Marine convoy to give the Abu Sayyaf kidnappers time to escape from their pursuers.
Akbar got 800 firearms from unidentified sources before the senatorial and local elections and distributed these among his men and other groups, my source said.
Some of the firearms were allegedly used in the ambush of the Marines.
Apart from rifles, the MILF and Akbar’s men used rifle-propelled grenades and 81 mm mortars in ambushing the Marines.
According to my source, the MILF has RPGs or rifle-propelled grenades, but they don’t have 81 mm mortars. Only Akbar has.
Question: Who provided Akbar with the 800 M-16 and M-14 rifles and 81 mm mortars?
Why did the military allow Akbar’s men to have 81 mm mortars that are for the exclusive use of the military?
On the subject of air support, an OV 10 attack helicopter and two MG520 hovered over the scene of the fighting, but left without firing a shot, said my source.
The UH1H helicopter also hovered over the area, but left also without firing a shot. A gunner of one of the “Huey” choppers was hit, forcing the pilot to return to base.
It could not be determined why the reinforcement aircraft left and literally fed the ground troops to the dogs.
The only officer who could order the dispatch and withdrawal of air support to beleaguered troops was Lt. Gen. Eugene Cedo, chief of the Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom).
Cedo was not at the Wesmincom headquarters in Zamboanga City, but in Cagayan de Oro City reportedly attending a security summit there.
Since Cedo was not in his area of command, he would not know the situation on the ground.
The military inefficiency in Basilan, as far as air support was concerned, seems a reenactment of the military bungling in the Abu Sayyaf raid at Dos Palmas resort in Palawan.
The Western Command under a Commodore Rabago didn’t send aircraft to pursue the kidnappers who were riding on a fast seacraft. Rabago was reportedly playing golf at the time of the raid.
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The owner of a firm allegedly involved in the overpricing of lampposts in Cebu City during the Asean Summit this year frequents the casinos and reportedly loses millions almost daily. The guy could be gambling with people’s money.