Philippine troops ‘killed’ 139 rebels in monthlong offensive

Updated 30 March 2015

Philippine troops ‘killed’ 139 rebels in monthlong offensive

MANILA: A monthlong Philippine offensive against hard-line rebels ended Monday after 139 insurgents were killed, 12 others were captured and bomb-making strongholds were seized by troops, the military chief said.
Ten soldiers were killed and 30 others were wounded in the ground and air strikes in the marshy boundary of Maguindanao and North Cotabato provinces in the southern Philippines. The clashes displaced 120,000 villagers at the height of fighting, and about 30,000 have returned home as the clashes eased, Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang told a news conference.
In a final gunbattle Sunday, four soldiers and 16 insurgents were killed, including a rebel commander, the military said.
Government forces launched the assaults Feb. 25 against the BIFM after its fighters attacked villages and were implicated in the killings in January of 44 police anti-terror commandos in the outskirts of Maguindanao’s Mamasapano town.
“After the relentless operations against the (rebels), we have achieved our objectives, including the neutralization of more than 50 percent of their ranks, the capture of their bomb factories and the seizure of their enclaves or safe havens,” Catapang said.
The military’s account could not be independently verified. Catapang cited intelligence and accounts from troops and villagers for the rebel death toll.
Catapang said a smaller number of troops would continue to hunt the rest of the rebels, specifically Abdul Basit Usman, alleged to be a bomb maker and trainer with links to the Indonesian-based Jemaah Islamiyah terrorist network and a suspect in several deadly bomb attacks in the south.
Washington has offered a $1 million award for Usman’s capture and prosecution.
The huge police casualties in Mamasapano — the government’s biggest single-day combat loss in recent memory — sparked public outrage and calls for retaliatory strikes against the insurgents. The deaths also stalled a peace deal the government signed last year with the largestrebel group in the south, the MILF, some fighters of which became entangled in the clashes that killed the commandos.
After the offensive, government troops will help construct roads, bridges, schools and hospitals in the area of fighting — far-flung communities where poverty, landlessness and neglect have fostered the decades-long rebellion in the south of the nation.


Tear gas fired as Hong Kong riot police, protesters clash

Updated 24 August 2019

Tear gas fired as Hong Kong riot police, protesters clash

  • The demonstrators retaliated with a barrage of bottles and bamboo poles
  • Tear gas and pepper spray was fired to disperse protesters

HONG KONG: Riot police and protesters clashed Saturday afternoon as a stand-off outside a police station descended into violence.
Officers charged with batons out, detaining at least one protester.
The demonstrators retaliated with a barrage of bottles and bamboo poles, as tear gas and pepper spray was fired to disperse them.