Philippines communist rebels warn US troops

Macdonald Stainsby mstainsby at tao.ca
Sat Feb 2 16:16:23 MST 2002


AFP. 30 January 2002. Philippines communist rebels warn US troops will
be met with "force."

MANILA -- A communist guerrilla leader warned US troops on the eve of a
joint counter-terrorist mission in the southern Philippines that they
faced armed attack if they strayed in the rebels' zones of influence.

New People's Army (NPA) rebels oppose the deployment of about 600 US
troops in joint operations with the Philippines to crush the Abu Sayyaf
Muslim kidnap-for-ransom group.

But NPA leader Gregorio Rosal said his group will not go out of its way
to seek the US troops out and attack them.

"It is possible that they would not enter our territories," Rosal said
over DZMM radio here in a telephone interview, citing statements by the
two governments that the operations would be limited in areas where the
Abu Sayyaf operates.

However, should the US troops venture into the main southern island of
Mindanao, "they may stray into NPA guerrilla zones," Rosal said.

"Naturally, if they enter these areas armed, they will be facing an
armed force as well."

Rosal, head of NPA units operating in provinces south of Manila, said
the 12,000-member Maoist guerrilla army "strongly opposes" the US
military deployments.

"If this military intervention escalates, we will resist it because the
Abu Sayyaf is not the real target," he said, repeating previous
allegations from the left that the US troops could eventually turn their
attention to the NPA.

Communist guerrilla leaders have made threats to disrupt the operations,
Filipino military spokesman Brigadier General Edilberto Adan said
Wednesday.

"We shall be prepared to meet them," he warned, while stressing that
communist guerrillas are not known to operate in these parts.


-------------------------------------------
Macdonald Stainsby
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