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Sunday, Aug. 06, 2006 at 2:17 PM
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MILITARY authorities should justify their offensive in Sulu by presenting credible proof that Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) operatives from Indonesia are operating there, Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel Jr. said in a statement Saturday.
US-RP Military dared to show proof of JI operations in Sulu
US asked to keep from combat activities on RP soil
Manila-- A prominent opposition senator asked the US and PUS-RPible proof that Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) operatives from Indonesia are operating there, Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel Jr. said in a statement Saturday.
At the same time, he cautioned anew the American military not to get involved in combat operations against the Abu Sayyaf and other terrorist groups on Mindanao.
“My view has always been that the US is welcome to this country to help promote peace, not to wage war. And therefore I do not approve of any military action on the part of the US in any part of the country because we are supposed to be a sovereign nation,” he said.
Contrary to the claim of a military official that Indonesian terrorists Omar Patek and Dulmatin are moving in the company of Abu Sayyaf bandits in Sulu, Pimentel said his own sources tell him there are no JI agents in Mindanao.
“My point is if there is JI cell there, [military authorities] should come out openly and tell us who, what, and where they are so thing will clear up…I am apprehensive there may be some ploy behind the alleged presence of the JI to widen the war and lay the basis for the continued warfare in Mindanao. And I think if the US authorities say there are JI from Indonesia, they should produce evidence for that,” he said.
Pimentel said the alleged presence of JI operatives in the island-province may just be a ploy to justify “continued warfare in Mindanao.”
“It is their job to show the people there is basis for their saying there is a Jemaah Islamiyah cell in Sulu. In the absence of that, they cannot expect us to support the ongoing hostilities in Sulu,” he said.
Some 500 families have fled their homes in Indanan, Sulu as the government troops carry out operations against terrorists using artillery.
This military action occurred, Pimentel pointed out, despite the statement of Ustadz Habier Malik, a high-ranking leader of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), claiming that the clash was between government soldiers and MNLF fighters, with no Abu Sayyaf terrorists involved.
“I am concerned about hostilities in Sulu that it has displaced so many unarmed citizens, non-combatants, from their homes and farms because that makes for instability in that part of the country,” Pimentel said.
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