ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / May 2, 2011) – Philippine authorities were alerted for possible sympathy attacks after Washington reported that al-Qaeda terror boss Osama bin Laden had been killed in US strike in Pakistan.
“We have alerted our forces on possible terror attacks by Osama supporters in the southern Philippines, particularly the Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiya elements. There is a possibility that they could launch sympathy attacks on civilian targets,” Army Lieutenant Colonel Randolph Cabangbang, a regional military spokesman, told the Mindanao Examiner.
“Homegrown terrorists have considered bin Laden their hero and there could be IED attacks, the possibility is always there, and we should stay vigilant although not all that is happening in the Middle East would translate to terror attacks in the Philippines,” he said.
US media reported that bin Laden, who masterminded the 9/11 attack in the United States, was killed in a mansion outside Islamabad. And that his body was recovered and brought to Afghanistan.
Lieutenant General Raymundo Ferrer, commander of the military’s Western Mindanao Command, said the death of bin Laden is the most significant major victory against terrorism.
“This is the most significant major victory against terrorism. While it will negatively affect the morale of his terrorist network, we cannot discount that some of his followers will plan for retaliatory actions. To this, we have alerted our units of possible repercussions of bin Laden’s death,” he said.
Filipino authorities have linked the Abu Sayyaf to al-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiya which is both blamed for the string of terror attacks in Mindanao Island and in Manila. In the past, al-Qaeda also channeled funds to the Abu Sayyaf to carry out attacks on US targets in the Philippines, including a plot to assassinate Pope John Paul when he visited Manila in 1994. (Mindanao Examiner)