In South East Asia, the Philippine media is rife with debate on the outcome of a botched covert police operation in the country’s restive island of Mindanao that left 67 people dead, 44 of whom were members of the Philippine National Police Special Action Force (PNP-SAF), an elite police commando group.Operation Exodus was mooted as a covert mission to capture known terrorists Zulkifli Bin Hir, alias Marwan and his accomplice, Abdul Basit Usman.
Recent events in two different corners of the world have brought out contrasting outcomes on issues of internal security in the face of terrorist threats in nations of the Global South.
Fresh in the news is the recent attack at Garissa University College in Kenya by elements of Somali based and al Qaeda linked militant group, al-Shabab, where 147 people, mostly students from the institution, were brutally killed in the early morning raid, leaving a nation dumbfounded yet again after another such attack in September 2013 at the upmarket Westgate Mall in Nairobi which recorded 67 innocent casualties.
According to a 2008 US State Department report, Philippine government has little control in the Sulu archipelago and the island of Mindanao.
The government has also had trouble combating resentment among the local Muslim minority regarding policies of the central government.
This is the largest military operation since independence in 1963 meant to sweep through areas of Southern Somalia controlled by the extremist Islamist group.
On a mission to protect the nation’s “territorial integrity,” Kenyan forces are attempting to secure the northern border with Somalia, an unstable region where the killing and abduction of Western tourists, aid workers, and local Kenyans has made news.On 25th January, 2015, the Operation was rolled out that saw the eventual killing of Marwan.However on their retreat back from the site, the SAF commandos encountered guerrillas belonging to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) which saw 44 members of the PNP-SAF members lying dead after the encounter.For the Philippines, a negotiated ceasefire agreement and efforts towards autonomy on the part of the Moro is on the table, while for Kenya, calls are made to recall its soldiers from their peacekeeping duty under AMISOM.However, the cases in Mamasapano and Garissa have raised questions on such peaceful efforts.Like the Philippines, Kenya does not have the capability, military or financial, to be sustain its efforts securing its porous borders and citizen security adequately.