FAR EAST CORRESPONDENT — Events in the Southern Philippines are gathering pace. The prospect of peace in the country’s long-troubled south has ricocheted across Mindanao and the Sulu Sea with the changing political dynamics kick starting an insurgency in neighboring Malaysia and raising tensions between Manila and Kuala Lumpur.
The insurgency has gone quiet over the past fortnight with a militia supported by the self-anointed Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III finding sanctuary among the countless water villages housing hundreds of thousands of illegal Filipinos, dotted along the east coast of Sabah, from Lahad Datu to Tawau.
But one man who benefited most is perhaps the Australian Warren Rodwell, 54, who was released last weekend after spending 15 months in captivity. Prior to his kidnapping, he had married, lived locally, been kidnapped by the notorious Abu Sayyaf, who were demanding $2 million for his ransom.