Philippine Troops Intercept Bomb, Detain 2 Men

March 12, 2008 at 3:58 pm | Posted in 1 | 1 Comment

COTABATO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Mar. 12, 2008) – Philippine soldiers intercepted a homemade bomb and detained two men transporting the explosive in the province of Shariff Kabunsuan in Mindanao, officials said.

Officials said the soldiers discovered the bomb after stopping a commuter van at a checkpoint in the villager of Maker in Datu Odin Sinsuat town before dawn Wednesday.

Soldiers also questioned several passengers on suspicion they were part terrorists and handed them over to the local police for further interrogation. “We still don’t know anything about the suspects or their backgrounds. Authorities are investigating the suspects,” Col. Julieto Ando, spokesman for the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, told the Manila Times.

He said soldiers recovered two kilos of TNT explosive, a 60mm mortar rocket, electronic blasting caps and wires, galvanized iron nails and a cellular phone used as a detonator to trigger explosion.  

Ando said civilian informants provided intelligence that led to the arrest of the suspects, including the van’s driver and one of the passengers. He did not say how many passengers were on board the van or whether other weapons had been recovered from the vehicle.

The military have repeatedly warned that terrorists may launch a series of attacks in retaliation to the killing of a purported Jemaah Islamiya bomber in the country’s troubled south.

Southern Philippines military officials had said that soldiers recovered the body of man thought to be Dulmatin on a remote village in Tawi-Tawi province last month.

But DNA test by the Philippine National Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation is yet to confirm whether the body was really that of Dulmatin, one of those who masterminded the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people, including 88 Australians, 25 Britons and seven US citizens.

Filipino security officials had also said that Dulmatin was killed in previous government offensives in the southern Philippines.

Indonesian police said Dulmatin, half-Javanese and half-Arabic, was the man who mixed and assembled the 500kg bomb that destroyed the Sari Club during the Bali attack.

Dulmatin’s assassination would be the biggest breakthrough in the hunt for the remaining Bali bombers the past years. Another Bali bomber, Umar Patek, is believed hiding in Sulu or Tawi-Tawi province under the protection of the local Abu Sayyaf group.

Philippine authorities last month also claimed to have uncovered a plot by the Jemaah Islamiya, the Abu Sayyaf, the New People’s Army and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front to assassinate President Gloria Arroyo and other high government officials. (With a report from Mark Navales)




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