MANILA, April 15 (Xinhua) -- American Marine soldiers are training their Filipino counterparts in the southern Philippines to locate and destroy the Abu Sayyaf rebels that hold captive two members of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), an official said.
Military spokesman Lt. Col. Edgard Arevalo said the training of at least 100 Filipino Marine soldiers started on Monday and is supervised by 10 U.S. Marines at the headquarters of the 11th Marine Battalion Landing Team in Patiku town, Sulu Province.
"A select group of Philippine Marines embarked on training with American Marines in small unit operations to find, fix, and fight the highly mobile and guerrilla-type skirmishes of the bandit group that had the mastery of the jungle and terrain," said the spokesman.
"After the training, these Philippine Marines will be infused as fresh soldiers to combat the terrorist Abu Sayyaf," he added.
The Philippine military are surrounding dozens of Abu Sayyaf members in the Sulu jungles where the kidnappers hold Swiss Andreas Notter and Italian Eugenio Vagni.
The two, along with fellow ICRC worker Filipina Mary Jean Lacaba, were snatched on Jan. 15 after they inspected a jail project in the province. Lacaba was released by the kidnappers on April 2.
The training is supposed to last 45 days, according to the spokesman.
"There is a possibility that the crisis will be over (by the time the training ends) but if we want to deploy them against the Abu Sayyaf, they are just ready," he said.
Arevalo said the Filipino soldiers would be trained on "small unit tactics." Under the current set-up, he said Marine soldiers are used to company-sized operations and this is quite not effective against the Abu Sayyaf who are mobile and know the terrain well.
"What we need to employ is the light, hard-hitting units like this. The training we'll get from them (the U.S. Marines) are small-unit tactics, light but hard-hitting, highly-mobile but fully-equipped," he said.