Source Pravda.Ru

Arrested Muslim militant was planning more attacks, Philippine officials

A Muslim arrested for his suspected links to deadly bomb attacks on Bali island, had worked closely with an Indonesian suspect in the 2002 Bali bombings who is hiding in the southern Philippines, officials said Thursday.

Hilarion del Rosario Santos III, the alleged leader of the Rajah Solaiman Revolutionary Movement, was arrested early Wednesday with his wife and six other suspects in a hideout in southern Zamboanga city, the military said.

Santos and the others, including three women, were presented by military officials to President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on Thursday in a military camp in Manila, along with weapons including 49 anti-tank rockets authorities said they seized from the militants' hideout.

Santos' group was planning more attacks, said Rear Adm. Tirso Danga, a senior military intelligence official, citing a government anti-terrorism agency.

"These people are supposed to sow terror. That's why the anti-terrorism task force has been saying that there are plans to bomb the critical parts of infrastructure and our territory," Danga told a news conference. He did not elaborate.

A few weeks before his capture, Santos was with Khaddafy Janjalani, the chief of the Philippine Abu Sayyaf extremist group, and Umar Patek, an Indonesian member of the al-Qaida-linked Jemaah Islamiyah group, Danga said.

Washington includes Janjalani and Patek on a list of wanted terrorists and has offered rewards for their capture. The Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah have been blamed for several bomb attacks in the Philippines and Southeast Asia. Patek is a key suspect in the 2002 Bali nightclub bombings that killed 202 people.

Janjalani and Patek have been targets of a U.S.-backed offensive in southern Maguindanao province that started in July. Santos apparently left the area due to the operation and hid in Zamboanga, military officials said.

Santos' group, composed mostly of Christians from the main northern Luzon island who have converted to Islam, is believed to have forged an alliance with the two terror groups, police intelligence officials say.

Abu Sayyaf rebels and Filipino Islamic converts trained by Jemaah Islamiyah bomb experts are suspected of bombing a ferry last year, killing 116 people.

The military has linked Santos' group to the ferry attack and a string of bombs on Feb. 14 this year that killed four people and injured 63 others.

The military also believes Santos was involved in the kidnappings of 21 tourists and workers from the Malaysian resort of Sipadan in 2000. His group was behind a foiled plot to explode a 1,000-kilogram (2,204-pound) truck bomb in Manila, possibly at the U.S. Embassy, National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales said, reports the AP.

P.T.

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