Abu Sayyaf now recruiting Christians for future attacks in Philippines. By Anthony Vargas


CHRISTIANS are being recruited by the Abu Sayyaf for future attacks in key areas in Mindanao, a military intelligence office revealed Wednesday.
The intelligence report dated September 7 said the recruitment had started sometime in July.
The report said the Abu Sayyaf centered its recruitment in Zamboanga City and Basilan, and offered prospective recruits a substantial "salary."
"The recruits were allegedly offered salary [P10,000 to P30,000] to join the group and conduct sabotage operations in Zamboanga City," said the report.
The report also cited the recruitment of Christians in Bunot Village, Indanan, Sulu, Maguindanao, and in Muslim dominant villages in Rio Hondo, Campo Islam and Arena Blanco in Zamboanga City.
"The recruitment is spearheaded by Abu Sayyaf commanders Jainal Antel Sali, alias Abu Solaiman, the group's spokesman; Albader Parad and a certain Abdu­raaman Jad­jijul," the report said.
An intelligence officer who requested anonymity said the Christians mentioned in the report have converted to Islam.
"The wives of some of the senior Abu Sayyaf leaders are Balik Islam," said another intelligence officer in Camp Aguinaldo.
Balik Islam are former Christians who embraced Islam as their new religion.
Military and police intelligence operatives are keeping an eye on converts, especially members of the Rajah Solaiman Movement, which has close ties with the Abu Sayyaf.
On the first quarter of the year, security officials estimated Abu Sayyaf's strength at about 510 "active" members, which increased by 90 to 420 last year.
Security officials said the Balik Islam and Rajah Solaiman members have taken part directly or indirectly in deadly terror attacks of the Abu Sayyaf in the past two years.
Among these attacks were the bombing of the Superferry 14 in February 27, 2004, in which hundreds of people were killed, and the triple bomb attacks on Valentines Day, where eight people were killed.
The Abu Sayyaf was also blamed for the bomb explosion on a small ferryboat in Lamitan, Basilan, late last month where four people died and scores injured.
The military's Southern Command has launched an operation to neutralize Abu Sayyaf chieftain Khadaffy Janjalani who is reportedly hiding in Maguindanao together with three Jemaah Islamiah members.

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