Philippines: After decades of terror, peace returns to island of Jolo

For a long time, the island of Jolo, one of the southernmost points of the Philippines archipelago, was off limits. It was the stronghold of one of the most violent terrorist movements in the world, Abu Sayyaf. In 2000, a group of 20 tourists were kidnapped in Malaysia and taken to Jolo. Journalists who covered the kidnapping were then also captured. Negotiations for their release took several months. Today, after 30 years of fighting with the Philippine army, Abu Sayyaf is almost defeated and the island has begun to find peace. FRANCE 24’s Constantin Simon, Alexis Bregere, Sherbien Dacalanio and Aruna Popuri report.

Created in the 1990s, Abu Sayyaf carried out numerous atrocities – assassinations, kidnappings, piracy and extortions – with the aim of creating an Islamist state in the south of the Philippines. The group's favourite method of execution was beheading with a sword.

Today, its last members are hiding out in the jungle and mountains. The army claims to have secured the island and has set up a programme to help Abu Sayyaf's repentant members reintegrate into society.

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