A Filipino Muslim vigilante prays at a mosque in Talipao village a few kilometres away from the suspected hideout of the Islamic fundamentalist Abu Sayyaf rebels in Jolo island in southern Philippines April 28. More than 1000 soldiers are chasing the Abu Sayyaf islamic rebels who claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of 21 hostages including 10 foreign tourists from a Malaysian dive resort last weekend. The hostages are believed to be taken to an interior part of Jolo island, up in rugged hilly territory.REUTERS/ ERIK DE CASTRO

The Philippines: Defeating Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG)

By Ronel Manalo

Despite being the focus of counterinsurgency for four decades, Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) continues to pose severe security threats to the Philippines (see Figure 1[i]) and the Southeast Asian region.  Based in Basilan, Sulu, and Tawitawi of southern Philippines, the insurgency uses principally terrorism and criminality in its quest for a separate Islamist state. This objective derives from a contested polity, wherein legitimacy has been lost in marginalized areas that have been ...