Jan 21 2008
Army soldiers patrol a highway in the southern Philippine province of Sulu. Thousands of army soldiers begin pulling out in Sulu and would be redeployed to Lanao del Norte province as part of a new strategy to combat terrorism, officials say. The Philippine Marines will take over the Army in Sulu, about 950 kilometers south of Manila. (Mindanao Examiner Photo Service)
SULU, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Jan. 21, 2008) – Thousands of Philippine Army troops have began withdrawing from the southern province of Sulu, where Marines have put up a permanent base as part of a new deployment strategy to effectively combat terrorism, officials said on Monday.
Officials said the 104th Infantry Brigade based in Sulu will be redeployed in the province of Lanao del Norte. The Philippine Marines will solely take over the security operation in Sulu, about 950 kilometers south of Manila.
Philippine Marines have also taken over the Army in Tawi-Tawi province and have been deployed in Zamboanga City where they already established a base.
“The redeployment of army soldiers is part a new concept which will be more effective in addressing various threats, from terrorism to guarding our long coastlines.”
“The Navy and Marines will take care of Sulu and Tawi-Tawi as part of this new Fleet Marine Concept and our the infantry forces will be redeployed to Lanao del Norte province and other areas in the region,” Army Major General Nehemias Pajarito, commander of the First Infantry Division, told the Mindanao Examiner.
Pajarito did not say how many army soldiers were involved in the redeployment of forces, but several thousands of infantrymen are currently stationed in Sulu.
The Army was largely credited for the killing of Abu Sayyaf chieftain Khadaffy Janjalani in Sulu and several senior leaders of the terrorist group tied to al-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiya the past years. (Mindanao Examiner)