This item is available on the Militant Islam Monitor website, at http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/2470

Christians converts to Islam from Rajah Soleiman group believed to be planning attacks in the Philippines

October 16, 2006

http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2006/10/16/asia/AS_GEN_Philippines_Suspected_Bombers.php

Philippine forces hunt 2 Muslim bomb-makers near Manila

MANILA, Philippines Philippine military and police forces have launched a manhunt for two suspected bomb-makers amid fears they may be planning attacks in the capital, officials said Monday

Members of the Rajah Solaiman Movement, a group of Christians who converted to Islam allied with the al-Qaida-linked Jemaah Islamiyah and the Abu Sayyaf, are believed to be in provinces near Manila, said Brig. Gen. Ben Dolorfino, chief of the military's National Capital Region Command. "We are now focusing on two personalities who have capability to prepare bombs, but we have not monitored them so far in the National Capital Region. Most likely they are in neighboring provinces," Dolorfino said. The two men have reportedly been trained by the Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah in bomb-making and get their instructions from the groups' "centralized leadership" on the southern island of Jolo, a scene of U.S.-backed offensive against the militants, Dolorfino said. They were not identified publicly for fears they might slip away. Senior Superintendent Samuel Pagdilao Jr., the national police spokesman, said the police intelligence service is closely monitoring the Rajah Solaiman Movement. Gen. Hermogenes Esperon, the armed forces chief of staff, told reporters there were 27 identified members of the group and six of them have been arrested, including the suspected leader, Hilarion del Rosario Santos III, also known as Ahmed Santos. "We hope to be able to neutralize the others," he said. "They remain a threat and therefore our target." Esperon added that no specific plans to sow terror in the capital have been monitored. The warning came after a series of bombings in the southern Philippines last week, prompting authorities to place the restive region under "extreme critical alert" the highest of a four-step public terror warning system. Six people were killed and 29 wounded in one of the blasts last Tuesday. On Sunday, a small explosion at a police camp on Jolo wounded two people, and troops dismantled another explosive device just hours before it was timed to go off. Authorities blamed two Indonesian militants, and said the attacks may be in retaliation for the Oct. 3 arrest of the wife of Dulmatin, one of the Indonesians hiding on Jolo and a key suspect in the 2002 Bali bombings. MANILA, Philippines Philippine military and police forces have launched a manhunt for two suspected bomb-makers amid fears they may be planning attacks in the capital, officials said Monday. Members of the Rajah Solaiman Movement, a group of Christians who converted to Islam allied with the al-Qaida-linked Jemaah Islamiyah and the Abu Sayyaf, are believed to be in provinces near Manila, said Brig. Gen. Ben Dolorfino, chief of the military's National Capital Region Command. "We are now focusing on two personalities who have capability to prepare bombs, but we have not monitored them so far in the National Capital Region. Most likely they are in neighboring provinces," Dolorfino said. The two men have reportedly been trained by the Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah in bomb-making and get their instructions from the groups' "centralized leadership" on the southern island of Jolo, a scene of U.S.-backed offensive against the militants, Dolorfino said. They were not identified publicly for fears they might slip away. Senior Superintendent Samuel Pagdilao Jr., the national police spokesman, said the police intelligence service is closely monitoring the Rajah Solaiman Movement. Gen. Hermogenes Esperon, the armed forces chief of staff, told reporters there were 27 identified members of the group and six of them have been arrested, including the suspected leader, Hilarion del Rosario Santos III, also known as Ahmed Santos. "We hope to be able to neutralize the others," he said. "They remain a threat and therefore our target." Esperon added that no specific plans to sow terror in the capital have been monitored. The warning came after a series of bombings in the southern Philippines last week, prompting authorities to place the restive region under "extreme critical alert" the highest of a four-step public terror warning system. Six people were killed and 29 wounded in one of the blasts last Tuesday. On Sunday, a small explosion at a police camp on Jolo wounded two people, and troops dismantled another explosive device just hours before it was timed to go off. Authorities blamed two Indonesian militants, and said the attacks may be in retaliation for the Oct. 3 arrest of the wife of Dulmatin, one of the Indonesians hiding on Jolo and a key suspect in the 2002 Bali bombings. MANILA, Philippines Philippine military and police forces have launched a manhunt for two suspected bomb-makers amid fears they may be planning attacks in the capital, officials said Monday. Members of the Rajah Solaiman Movement, a group of Christians who converted to Islam allied with the al-Qaida-linked Jemaah Islamiyah and the Abu Sayyaf, are believed to be in provinces near Manila, said Brig. Gen. Ben Dolorfino, chief of the military's National Capital Region Command. "We are now focusing on two personalities who have capability to prepare bombs, but we have not monitored them so far in the National Capital Region. Most likely they are in neighboring provinces," Dolorfino said. The two men have reportedly been trained by the Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah in bomb-making and get their instructions from the groups' "centralized leadership" on the southern island of Jolo, a scene of U.S.-backed offensive against the militants, Dolorfino said. They were not identified publicly for fears they might slip away. Senior Superintendent Samuel Pagdilao Jr., the national police spokesman, said the police intelligence service is closely monitoring the Rajah Solaiman Movement. Gen. Hermogenes Esperon, the armed forces chief of staff, told reporters there were 27 identified members of the group and six of them have been arrested, including the suspected leader, Hilarion del Rosario Santos III, also known as Ahmed Santos. "We hope to be able to neutralize the others," he said. "They remain a threat and therefore our target." Esperon added that no specific plans to sow terror in the capital have been monitored. The warning came after a series of bombings in the southern Philippines last week, prompting authorities to place the restive region under "extreme critical alert" the highest of a four-step public terror warning system. Six people were killed and 29 wounded in one of the blasts last Tuesday. On Sunday, a small explosion at a police camp on Jolo wounded two people, and troops dismantled another explosive device just hours before it was timed to go off. Authorities blamed two Indonesian militants, and said the attacks may be in retaliation for the Oct. 3 arrest of the wife of Dulmatin, one of the Indonesians hiding on Jolo and a key suspect in the 2002 Bali bombings.

This item is available on the Militant Islam Monitor website, at http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/2470