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Moro insurgency in the Philippines (1969-2015)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This article is about the insurgency of 19692015. For the insurgency of 18991913,
see Moro Rebellion. For the pre-1899 conflict, see SpanishMoro conflict.


Moro insurgency in the Philippines

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This article is about the insurgency of 19692015. For the insurgency of 18991913, see Moro
Rebellion. For the pre-1899 conflict, see SpanishMoro conflict.

[hide]This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss the
This article needs additional citations for verification.
This article is outdated.

(December 2013)

(March 2014)

This article may require copy editing for grammar, style, cohesion, tone
It has been suggested that North Cotabato Conflict be merged into this
article. (Discuss) Proposed since May 2012.
It has been suggested that Civil conflict in the Philippines be merged into
this article. (Discuss) Proposed since February 2014.

Moro insurgency in the Philippines

Part of the Cold War, the War on Terror, and
the Civil conflict in the Philippines

Above: Filipino and US Troops during the PMC

Balikatan Exercise
Below: A member of the Moro Islamic Liberation
Front training with a light machine gun.


March 29, 1969 ongoing


Philippines (mainly in Mindanao)




Autonomous Region in Muslim

Mindanao formed in August 1, 1989



Supported by: Front[8]





State of Iraq
and the









Liberation Islamiya

Malaysia( Front(until h
since 2001)[3][4] 2014)







IMT: [show]




ort to Abu







ed by:


Commanders and leaders


Marcos (1969 Misuari

Aquino (1986
Fidel V.




Habie Janjalani Bakr alBaghdadi (Lea

r Malik



min Sema ril

Habib Umbra

Ramos (1992 Mujahab










der of ISIL)





d Ibrahim

Arroyo (2001












Casualties and losses

Casualties for Unknown



572 Filipino
18 American
(since 2002)



Moro insurgency in the Philippines

In 1969, political tensions and open hostilities developed between the Government of the
Philippines and Moro Muslim rebel groups.[25] The Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) was
established by University of the Philippines professor Nur Misuari to condemn the killings of more
than 60 Filipino Muslims and later became an aggressor against the government while the Moro
Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), a splinter group from the MNLF, was established to seek an Islamic
state within the Philippines and is more radical and more aggressive. Conflict dates back to 1899
during the uprising of the Bangsamoro people to resist foreign rule from the United States. Hostilities
ignited again starting in the 1960s when the government started to resist upcoming rebellions by
killing more than 60 Filipino Muslims and continues up to present.
Casualty statistics vary for the conflict however the conservative estimates of the Uppsala Conflict
Data Program indicate that at least 6,015 people were killed in armed conflict between the
Government of Philippines and ASG, BIFM, MILF, and MNLFfactions between 1989 and 2012.[26]

1 Origins

2 History

2.1 Marcos (19691986)

2.2 C. Aquino and Ramos (19861998)

2.3 The North Cotabato conflict (2000)

2.4 Estrada and Arroyo (19982010)

2.5 Benigno Aquino III (2010present)

3 See also

4 References

5 External links

Main articles: SpanishMoro conflict, Moro Rebellion and Philippine resistance against Japan
Moro resistance on Mindanao and Sulu

The aftermath of the First Battle of Bud Dajo

Fronts and captures in Basilan

The Moros had a history of resistance against Spanish, American, and Japanese rule for 400 years.
The origin of the war between the Moros and Filipinos started during the Spanish colonization of the
Philippines. During the SpanishMoro conflict, Spain repeatedly tried to conquer the Moro Sultanate
of Sulu, Sultanate of Maguindanao, and the Confederation of sultanates in Lanao. The violent armed
struggle against the Japanese, Filipinos, Spanish, and Americans is considered by current Moro
Muslim leaders as part of the four centuries long "national liberation movement" of the Bangsamoro
(Moro Nation).[27] The 400-year-long resistance against the Japanese, Americans, and Spanish by
the Moro Muslims persisted and morphed into their current war for independence against the
Philippine state.[28]
Following the Spanish-American War in 1898, another conflict sparked in
southern Philippines between the revolutionary Muslims in the Philippines and the United States
Military that took place between 1899 and 1913. Filipinos opposed foreign rule from theUnited
States that claimed the Philippines as their territory. On August 14, 1898, after defeating Spanish
forces, the United Stateshad established a military government in the Philippines under
General Wesley Merritt as Military Governor.[29] American forces took control from the Spanish
government in Jolo on May 18, 1899, and at Zamboanga in December 1899.[30] Brigadier
GeneralJohn C. Bates was sent to negotiate a treaty with the Sultan of Sulu, Jamalul Kiram II. Kiram
was disappointed knowing that the American forces would take over since he expected to regain
sovereignty after the defeat of Spanish forces in the archipelago. Bates' main goal was to
guarantee Moro neutrality in the Philippine-American War, and to establish order in the southern
Philippines. After some negotiation, the Bates Treaty was signed which was based on an earlier
Spanish treaty. The Bates Treaty did ensure the neutrality of the Muslims in the south but it was
actually set up to buy time for the Americans until the war in the north ended.

On March 20, 1900, General Bates was replaced by Brigadier General William August Kobb and
the District of Mindanao-Jolo was upgraded to a full department. American forces in Mindanao were
reinforced and hostilities with the Moro people lessened although there are reports of Americans and
other civilians being attacked and slain by Moros.
Insurrection began in 1900 and lasted for a year. The American forces then move push inside the
settles of Moro people. Kobbwas replaced by George Whitefield Davis as the commander of the
Department of Mindanao-Jolo and put up better relationships with the Moro people.
It continued for more than three decades which resulted in significant loss of life. [citation needed] Military
governors were appointed by the United States to ensure peace and stability within the region. The
conflict ended at the term of Major General John J. Pershing, the third and final military governor of
Moro Province, although major resistance continued in Bud Dajo and Mount Bagsak in Jolo.
Repeated rebellions by the Moros against American rule continued to break out even after the main
Moro Rebellion ended, right up to the Japanese occupation of the Philippines during World War II.
During the Japanese invasion of the Philippines, the Moroswaged an insurgency against the
Japanese on Mindanao and Sulu until the Japanese were defeated and driven out.

Marcos (19691986)[edit]
Under President Ferdinand Marcos, 68 Filipino Muslim military trainees were murdered in
Corregidor allegedly by soldiers of theArmed Forces of the Philippines.[31][32] The trainees were
believed to be a part of an upcoming rebellion.[32] By then, University of the Philippines professor Nur
Misuari formed the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) to condemn the killings of the 68 Filipino
Muslims and to seek the establishment of a Bangsamoro nation through force of arms.[32]
Mindanao, the home of the Moro Muslims, is rich in natural resources and minerals. The American
colonial government and subsequently the Philippine government followed a policy of demographic
swamping by settling massive amounts of Filipino Christian settlers from the Visayan islands and
Luzon onto Moro Muslim lands in Mindanao. The policy resulted in a massive wave of Filipino
Christians settling on Mindanao where the population of Filipino Christian settlers now outnumbers
the native Moro Muslims by the millions. This was an additional factor in aggravating conflicts
between the native Moro Muslims and Filipino Christian settlers as disputes over land increased.
Another complaint of the Moros is the extraction of Mindanao's natural resources and wealth by the
central government while the Moro population live in mass poverty.
In 1969, the MNLF waged armed conflict against the Philippine government.[32] During one of the
fierce battles of the insurgency in 1974, Jolo was burned down and news of the tragedy galvanized
other Muslims around the world to pay greater attention to the conflict. Over 10,000 Moro and
Chinese civilians were killed by the Philippine Armed Forces when they burned Jolo to the ground.
Two years later, thePhilippine government and the MNLF signed the Tripoli Agreement, declaring
ceasefire on both sides. Within the agreement provided that Mindanao would remain a part of

the Philippines but 13 of its provinces would be under the autonomous government for the
Bangsamoro people.[32] President Marcos went against the agreement and violence ensued.
The Philippine government encouraged Filipino Christian settlers in Mindanao to form militias
called Ilaga to fight the Moros. The Ilaga engaged in massacres and atrocities and were responsible
for Manili massacre of 65 Moro Muslim civilians in a Mosque on June 1971, including women and
children. The Ilaga also engaged in cannibalism, cutting off the body parts of their victims to eat in
Other massacres committed by the Philippine armed forces against Moro civilians include the
November 1971 Tacub massacre, 1974 Malisbong massacre, October 1977 Patikul massacre,
February 1981 Pata Island massacre.[33][34][35][36][37][38]
On September 24, 1974, in the Malisbong massacre the Armed Forces of the
Philippines slaughtered 1,766 Moro Muslim civilians who were praying at a Mosque in addition to
mass raping Moro girls who had been taken aboard a boat.
In 1977, Shiekh Salamat Hashim established the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), a splinter
group of the MNLF seeking to establish an Islamic state.[39] Conflicts between these rebel groups and
the Armed Forces of the Philippines would continue until the end of the regime of President Marcos.

C. Aquino and Ramos (19861998)[edit]

Earlier in her term, President Corazon Aquino arranged a meeting with MNLF chairman Nur Misuari
and several MNLF rebel groups in Sulu, which paved the way for a series of negotiations. In 1989,
the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) was created under Republic Act No. 6734 or
the ARMM Organic Act, pursuant to the 1987 Constitution.[40]
In 1991, Abdurajak Janjalani, a former teacher who studied Islam in the Middle East, formed the Abu
Sayyaf Group after reportedly meeting Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan in the 1980s. Janjalani
recruited former members of the MNLF for the more radical and theocratic Abu Sayyaf. [32]
Under the Presidency of Fidel V. Ramos, several negotiations and peace talks[25] were held and the
ARMM was solidified and was to have its own geopolitical system. [32]

The North Cotabato conflict (2000)[edit]

1000 MILF rebels under the command of Umbra Kato have seized control of thirty five villages in
the North Cotabato province. 2000 Philippine troops with helicopters and artillery were sent in to the
seized area on August 9 to liberate it from the rebels. The MILF had wanted North Cotabato to be
included in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao. The government and MILF had been
negotiating for the inclusion of the province in the Muslim Autonomous Region but the Supreme
Court had struck down the proposal after hearing concern from local Christian leaders in the region.

The rebel troops were ordered to leave the area by their commanders but the contingents under
Kato refused to leave the villages they had occupied and instead dug in. The Philippine
Armyresponded on August 9 by bombarding them. The next day, the government forces moved to
retake the villages recapturing two of them from the rebels. [41][42]

Estrada and Arroyo (19982010)[edit]

Political map of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM)

During his term President Joseph Ejercito Estrada he declared an "all-out war" against the MILF on
March 21, 2000 although a series of negotiations for cessation of hostilities were held. [39] Apparently,
several conflicts in and around Mindanao erupted and clashes between the Philippine Military and
the rebel groups resulted in massive loss of lives.
During his term, these rebel groups kidnapped three Italian priests, two were later released and one
was shot dead;[43][44] seized the municipal hall ofTalayan, Maguindanao and Kauswagan, Lanao del
Norte; the bombing of the ferry Our Lady of Mediatrix at Ozamiz; and the takeover of Narciso Ramos
Highway. All these incidents resulted in massive loss of investments abroad, especially in the area
of Mindanao.
As a result, the Armed Forces of the Philippines launched a successful campaign against these
rebel groups and 43 minor camps, 13 major camps including the MILF headquarters, and Camp
Abubakar[45] fell. MILF suffered heavy losses and the head of MILF, Sheikh Salamat Hashim, fled the
country and sought refuge in Malaysia. On October 5, 2000, 609 rebels surrendered in Cagayan de
Oro, along with renegade town mayor Mulapandi Cosain Sarip.[46] These was followed by another
massive surrender of 855 rebels on December 29, 2000. President Joseph Ejercito Estrada then
ordered that the Philippine flag be raised inMindanao which symbolized victory. It was raised on July
9, 2000 near a Madh'hab and again the next day along with President Joseph Ejercito Estrada,
which held a feast inside a classroom just meters away from a mosque. [45]
As a result, several Islamic rebel groups retaliated, bombing several key locations within the National
Capital Region on December 30, 2000. It resulted in 22 deaths and hundreds of people injured.
Saifullah Yunos, one of the perpetrators was arrested in Cagayan de Oro as he was about to board
a plane bound to Manila in May 2003.[47] In 2004, two members of the Jemaah Islamiyah were
arrested, namely Mamasao Naga and Abdul Pata as they were identified by Fathur Rahman al-

Ghozi as responsible for the train bombing.[48] al-Ghozi was also arrested, but was later killed in a
firefight when he tried to escape the prison on October 13, 2003.
On May 27, 2001, the Abu Sayyaf seized twenty hostages from an upscale resort in Palawan. Four
of the hostages managed to escape.[49] The kidnapping group composed of 40 gunmen then seized
the Dr. Jose Torres Memorial Hospital and St. Peter's Church compound in the town
of Lamitan in Basilan[50] and claimed to have taken captive 200 people although 20 people were
confirmed to be taken captive inside the hospital, including the staff and the patients. [51][52]
There was a crossfire between the Army and the Abu Sayyaf rebels in Lamitan following the
takeover of Dr. Jose Torres Memorial Hospital which resulted in the deaths of 12 soldiers, including
the army captain.[52] Up to 22 soldiers were reportedly to have been killed in an effort to rescue the
Five more captives escaped during the battle at Lamitan. Two of the captives were killed prior to the
siege in Lamitan, including the beheading of one.[49] The Abu Sayyaf then conductedseries of raids,
including one at a coconut plantation[53] where the rebel groups hacked the heads of two men
using bolo knives. The owners and a security guard was also held captive and the rebel groups
burnt down two buildings, including a chapel a week after the battle in Lamitan.[53] Another raid was
conducted in August 2, 2001 on Barangay Balobo in Lamitan, Basilan. After three days,
the Philippine Army rescued numerous hostages[54] after they overtook the hideout of the militants
where 11 bodies were found beheaded.[55] Other hostages were either released or had escaped. [54]
On June 13, 2001, the number of hostages was calculated at around 28 as three more people were
found beheaded in Basilan,[56] including that of Guillermo Sobero.[57] They were beheaded since
the Philippine Army would not halt the rescue operation.[57]
The Burhams were still on the group of 14 still held captive according to three hostages who
escaped on October 2001.[57] On June 7, 2002, after a year of being held captive, a rescue mission
was conducted and resulted in the deaths of Martin Burnham and a nurse named Ediborah
Yap[58] after being caught in the crossfire. Martin was killed by three gunshots in the chest while
Gracia was wounded in her right leg. By this time Nur Misuari ordered his supporters to attack
government targets to prevent the holding of elections on ARMM on November 2001, ushering his
exit as the governor of the region.[32] Misuari would be later arrested in 2007 in Malaysia and was
deported back to the Philippines for trial.[32]
On July 2004, Gracia Burnham testified at a trial of eight Abu Sayyaf members and identified six of
the suspects as being her erstwhile captors, including Alhamzer Limbong, Abdul Azan Diamla, Abu
Khari Moctar, Bas Ishmael, Alzen Jandul and Dazid Baize. Fourteen Abu Sayyaf members were
sentenced to life imprisonment while four were acquitted. Alhamzer Limbong was later killed in
a prison uprising.[59]
These rebel groups, especially the Abu Sayyaf conducted several terror attacks, namely
the bombings at Zamboanga in October 2002; the bombing of SuperFerry 14 on February 2004;
thesimultaneous bombings in Central Mindanao on October 2006; the beheadings of several

Philippine Marines on July 2007; the Batasang Pambansa bombing on November 2007; and the
2009 bombings in Mindanao.
Numerous clashes erupted between the Philippine Army and the rebel groups, such as the clash on
June 14, 2009 that killed 10 rebels.[60]
Since 2001, the Philippines and the United States have been on a campaign to battle this
insurgency, known as War on Terror. To combat the insurgency, the United States and
thePhilippines conducted the Operation Enduring Freedom Philippines,[61] a part of the worldwide
campaign against terrorism known as Operation Enduring Freedom.

Benigno Aquino III (2010present)[edit]

See also: Zamboanga City crisis
In 2013, two main camps of the Abu Sayyaf group were overrun by forces of the Moro National
Liberation Front (MNLF) in its latest offensive in Patikul.[62] According to MNLF leader Nur Misuari, the
MNLF offensive against the Abu Sayyaf is because of the MNLF opposition to the Abu Sayyafs
human rights abuses which goes against Islam.
During the term of President Benigno Aquino III, a series of peace talks for the cessation of hostilities
was held, including the meeting of MILF Chair Al Haj Murad Ibrahim in Tokyo, Japanwhich was
lauded on both sides.[32] Norway also joined the International Monitoring Team (IMT) on January
2011, overseeing the ceasefire agreement between the government and MILF onMindanao. Despite
the peace talks, a series of conflicts erupted. on September 10, 2011, Jal Idris, a hardcore member
of Abu Sayyaf, was arrested by government forces after a crossfire between the Philippine Army and
the rebel group[63] The Armed Forces of the Philippines also killed three Abu Sayyaf militants in a
stand-off[64] the following day after the arrest of Jal Idris.
Terrorism continued throughout President Benigno's term, notable cases include when 4 merchants
and a guide were killed by Abu Sayyaf bandits in January 2011.[65] and later a soldier who was killed
in a clash against the rebels.[66] In August 2011, rebel factions attacked a village in Sulu, killing 7
Marines and taking 7 civilians captive. They later freed 2 of the hostages after a ransom was paid.
Also, several areas of Mindanao were bombed in August by the government, and a Filipino
businesswoman was abducted in September 2011[68] who was later freed after the three gunmen
were gunned down by the Armed Forces of the Philippines.[69]
On October 20, 2011, the MILF was blamed for an attack on 40 government soldiers in the province
of Basilan, which lead to the deaths of 19 soldiers and 6 MILF fighters.[70] This thereby violated the
ceasefire agreement between the government and MILF. This caused outrage in the government,
which lead to the continuation of the war against terrorism in the country.
On the website of the Moro National Liberation Front, Nur Misuari declared its support for China
against the Philippines, in the South China Sea dispute, calling both China and the Moro people as
victims of Philippine colonialism, and noting China's history of friendly relations with the Moros. [71] The
MNLF website also denounced America's assistance to the Philippines in their colonization of the

Moro people in addition to denouncing the Philippines claims to the islands disputed with China, and
denouncing America for siding with the Philippines in the dispute, noting that in 1988 China
"punished" Vietnam for attempting to set up a military presence on the disputed islands. The website
also pointed out that the Moros and China maintained peaceful relations, while on the other hand the
Moros had to resist other colonial powers, having to fight the Spanish, fight the Americans, and fight
the Japanese, in addition to fighting the Philippines.[72]
The Zamboanga City crisis erupted on September 9, 2013, when a MNLF faction known by other
groups as the Rogue MNLF Elements (RME), under the Sulu State Revolutionary Command
(SSRC), led by Ustadz Habier Malik and Khaid Ajibon attempted to raise the flag of the selfproclaimed Bangsamoro Republik at Zamboanga City Hall (which had earlier declared its
independence on August 12, 2013 in Talipao, Sulu), and took civilians hostage. This armed incursion
was met by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP),
which sought to free the hostages and expel the MNLF from the city. The standoff degenerated into
urban warfare, and had brought parts of the city under a standstill for days. On September 28, the
government declared the end of military operations in Zamboanga City after successfully defeating
the MNLF and rescuing all the hostages.
On January 24, 2014, the Philippines government chief negotiator Miriam Coronel Ferer and MILF
chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal signed a peace agreement in Kuala Lumpur. The agreement would
pave the way for the creation of the new Muslim autonomous entity called "Bangsamoro" under a
law to be approved by the Philippine Congress. [73] The government aims to set up the region by
2016. The agreement calls for Muslim self-rule in parts of the southern Philippines in exchange for a
deactivation of rebel forces by the MILF. MILF forces would turn over their firearms to a third party to
be selected by the MILF and the Philippine government. A regional police force would be
established, and the Philippine military would reduce the presence of troops and help disband
private armies in the area.[74]
On July 23, 2014, Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon swore loyalty to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in a
video, along with the rest of the organization, giving ISIL a presence in the Philippines. [16][17] In
September 2014, the group began kidnapping people to ransom, in the name of ISIL. [75]

See also[edit]

SpanishMoro Wars

Moros during World War II

Moro Rebellion

Moro attacks on Malaysia

Peace process with the Bangsamoro in the Philippines

History of Philippines

Terrorism in the Philippines

Communist insurgency in the Philippines

Extrajudicial killings and forced disappearances in the Philippines


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