AFP. 30 January 2002. Philippines communist rebels warn US troops will be met with "force."
MANILA -- A communist guerrilla leader warned US troops on the eve of a joint counter-terrorist mission in the southern Philippines that they faced armed attack if they strayed in the rebels' zones of influence. New People's Army (NPA) rebels oppose the deployment of about 600 US troops in joint operations with the Philippines to crush the Abu Sayyaf Muslim kidnap-for-ransom group. But NPA leader Gregorio Rosal said his group will not go out of its way to seek the US troops out and attack them. "It is possible that they would not enter our territories," Rosal said over DZMM radio here in a telephone interview, citing statements by the two governments that the operations would be limited in areas where the Abu Sayyaf operates. However, should the US troops venture into the main southern island of Mindanao, "they may stray into NPA guerrilla zones," Rosal said. "Naturally, if they enter these areas armed, they will be facing an armed force as well." Rosal, head of NPA units operating in provinces south of Manila, said the 12,000-member Maoist guerrilla army "strongly opposes" the US military deployments. "If this military intervention escalates, we will resist it because the Abu Sayyaf is not the real target," he said, repeating previous allegations from the left that the US troops could eventually turn their attention to the NPA. Communist guerrilla leaders have made threats to disrupt the operations, Filipino military spokesman Brigadier General Edilberto Adan said Wednesday. "We shall be prepared to meet them," he warned, while stressing that communist guerrillas are not known to operate in these parts. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Barry Stoller http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ProletarianNews