US Accused of Disastrous Drone Raid Which Left 44 Philippine Commandos Dead

© AP Photo / Bullit MarquezA Philippine police commando stands near a poster calling for justice for 44 commandos killed in a clash with Muslim rebels in January.
A Philippine police commando stands near a poster calling for justice for 44 commandos killed in a clash with Muslim rebels in January. - Sputnik International
Subscribe
US
India
Global
A United States drone was flying overhead as the Philippine military conducted a raid against alleged Islamic militants in an operation that ended with 44 police commandos dead in a field, according to reports.

Now, some Philippine lawmakers are asking if the US military played a leading role in the operation, which took place in January in the country's Muslim-majority south.

Reports suggest the drone in the area was beaming back real-time images to US commanders as the doomed operation unfolded.

© AP Photo / Bullit MarquezA Philippine National Police officer salutes before the flag-draped coffin of one of the 44 commandos killed in a January clash with Muslim rebels.
A Philippine National Police officer salutes before the flag-draped coffin of one of the 44 commandos killed in a January clash with Muslim rebels. - Sputnik International
A Philippine National Police officer salutes before the flag-draped coffin of one of the 44 commandos killed in a January clash with Muslim rebels.

Senate president Franklin Drilon, a powerful member of the ruling Liberal Party, is one of at least five senators to have raised questions about what the US knew.

"Did the FBI know beforehand about this operation?" Drilon asked the head of the police commando unit Getulio Napenas, who lost his job over the affair, in one hearing. "Or any US armed forces personnel, did they know about this operation beforehand?"

The US is prohibited from engaging in combat in the Philippines by the terms of an anti-terrorism training deployment. Until last month, the US had a unit of about 500-600 special forces in the southern Philippines that trained local troops to fight Islamic militants, but was not allowed to engage in combat.

A US government official told Agence France-Presse that American troops helped evacuate casualties, but that the operation was "planned and executed by Philippine authorities.”

Police commandos conducted the pre-dawn raid on a secluded farming village controlled by Muslim rebels in the south to capture or kill two men on the US government's global list of "most wanted terrorists.”

Philippine National Police salute for the final sendoff as a van with one of the remains of 44 special commandos leaves Camp Bagong Diwa for its final journey to his hometown Saturday, Jan. 31, 2015 at suburban Taguig city, south of Manila, Philippines - Sputnik International
Philippines Mourns Deaths of 44 Police Officers, Blames MILF Insurgents

The operation was meant to be a surprise attack, but hundreds of rebels quickly outnumbered the police, trapping a large group in a cornfield and killing the 44 commandos during a day-long battle. One of the alleged militants was reported killed.

The severed finger from a corpse believed to be from the killed militant, Malaysian national Zulkifli bin Hir, was given to the FBI.

Both houses of parliament have launched inquiries into the raid, but have been unable to find specifics on US involvement in the operation.

Senator Grace Poe questioned reports that said a drone fed footage back to a Philippine command center, where US authorities helped to direct commandos through the raid.

"I am concerned because actual participation, if any, of US forces in the operation of a purely law enforcement operation, like service of warrants to accused, albeit known terrorists who are themselves wanted criminals in the US, should not be allowed," Poe told AFP.

Newsfeed
0
To participate in the discussion
log in or register
loader
Chats
Заголовок открываемого материала