Philippines arrest bomb plotters

Police in the Philippines have arrested at least four men alleged to have been plotting to bomb President Gloria Arroyo's inauguration on Wednesday.

The men, all Filipino Muslims, were arrested in Manila and found with bomb-making materials, police said.

Police said they were investigating whether the men belonged to Asian militant Muslim group Jemaah Islamiah.

Manila was already on alert for the inauguration, in case of violence from supporters of the losing candidate.

Supporters of former film star Fernando Poe Junior dispute the result. They are expected to hold a rally in Manila on Wednesday and proclaim their candidate the winner.

Police broke up a protest by several thousand of his supporters on Tuesday.

Bombing materials

Police said the arrested men were detained in the suburb of Taguig City, and that bottles of ammonium nitrate, explosives and bomb making materials were also found.

Manila police chief Pedro Bulaong said a notebook found in the raid referred to a camp in the southern Philippines where Jemaah Islamiah (JI) is alleged to have operations.

JI, which has been linked to Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda, has been blamed for bombings and other attacks across South East Asia, including the 2002 Bali bombings.

Philippines Defence Secretary Eduardo Ermita said last week that more than 40 JI members were believed to be hiding in the south of the country.

Mr Bulaong said the bombers planned to target Manila's Rizal Park, where Mrs Arroyo is due to make a speech on Wednesday.

She is due to be sworn in later in the day in the central city of Cebu.

A police statement said the men were part of a larger group that had come to Manila from the southern island of Mindanao, and their plan had been to set off bombs and disrupt the inauguration.

29/06/2004

Bron : BBC News

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