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Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Topic - Arturo Biyo
TAWI-TAWI ISLAND, Philippines. -- As the 10 men approached, the crowd parted in front of them. When they were about 20 feet away, I noticed they were all wearing the uniform of the Moro National Liberation Front — not long ago considered a vicious terrorist organization. The U.S. Navy SEAL standing beside me edged closer, his short-barrel carbine at the ready.
"If things had not turned around down here," he added, "these islands could well have become a new training ground for international terrorists — just like Afghanistan in the 1990s."
"For years these islands were havens for radical Islamic groups like Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah," said Lt. Col. Arturo Biyo, commanding officer of the Philippine 2nd Marine Battalion Landing Team — headquartered on Tawi-Tawi.