The Neo Abu Sayyaf: Criminality in the Sulu Archipelago of the Republic of the Philippines
The fragmented Abu Sayyaf may be many things, but insurgents fighting for liberation they are not. The various groups, with many leaders, have descended into murderers and kidnappers who show no compassion for their victims. Their sole motivation, and, indeed, obsession, is greed accompanied by fear.
This publication follows the rise of criminality in the greater Mindanao region – especially the Sulu Archipelago provinces – in the context of the participation of major state and non-state players in the suppression of the Moros – indigenous Muslims. The Catholic Church comes in for extensive scrutiny for the power it holds in the region. The 70 plus years of deliberate minoritisation of the Moros by various Philippine administrations are brought into the equation in order to understand why a murderous group such as the Abu Sayyaf has, in the main, so much local support.
The waxing and waning of the “fortunes” of the Abu Sayyaf in the 20 plus years of its existence, and the inability of the various Philippine administrations to stamp out this criminality is examined. The criminality and brutality of the group, especially in the time since the death of its late co-founder – Khadaffy Janjalani – is documented. It shows an escalation that defies explanation given the thousands of Philippines troops that have been deployed in the Sulu Archipelago provinces of Sulu and Basilan.
Dr Bob East is an Australian independent researcher and author who holds a Post-Graduate Doctorate (PhD) in International Peace and Conflict Studies from the University of Southern Queensland, Australia. This book follows on from his two previous publications about the Abu Sayyaf criminality, namely Terror Truncated: The decline of the Abu Sayyaf from the crucial year 2002 (2013) and 472 Days Captive of the Abu Sayyaf. The survival of the Australian Warren Rodwell. (2015).
"Bob East has established himself as an acute observer of the Mindanao scene at a time both of great change and of stupefying resistance to that change. In the body of work he has produced so far can be found useful insights into a polity which cannot secure its borders or safeguard its own people, let alone provide adequate security in its waters or even protect Western tourists and other visitors. Dr East reveals how far the struggle for peace and security has yet to go in the southern reaches of this troubled archipelago. There is no single key to interpreting developments in the southern Philippines, but readers will be rewarded by reading the work Bob East is doing in this area. He manages to cast light on a truly frightening situation. This latest book extends the story and advances our understanding of Mindanao’s plight."
Dr Peter M. Sales Honorary Fellow, Faculty of Arts, University of Wollongong, Australia
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