Arroyo denies militant 'murdered'

The Philippine President, Gloria Arroyo, has dismissed conjecture that the killing of an Indonesian whom she regards as an international terrorist was stage-managed by the security forces to impress the United States.

The security forces said they had killed the fugitive, Fathur Rohman al-Ghozi, in a gunfight only a few days before President George Bush was due to visit Manila.

President Gloria Arroyo said she stood by the report of the authorities on the killing of Fathur Rohman al-Ghozi.

The government regarded Mr al-Ghozi, an Indonesian, as an international terrorist, a crucial member of the Muslim militant group Jemaah Islamiah.

As a close ally of the United States in its war against terrorism, the government was embarrassed when Mr al-Ghozi escaped from the national police headquarters in July.

The security forces reported that they had fatally wounded the fugitive on Sunday in a gunfight which broke out when they tried to stop his vehicle.

Some opposition politicians have conjectured that Mr al-Ghozi was captured beforehand and murdered to prevent him from exposing the complicity of corrupt policemen in his escape.

They also theorised that his death was made public just six days before President George Bush was due to visit Manila in order to impress the Americans.

While dismissing these theories, Mrs Arroyo said Mr al-Ghozi's death showed that the government was dealing with terrorism effectively.

14/10/2003

Bron : BBC World

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