OVERNMENT security forces have captured the leader of an extremist group which had allegedly been planning a wave of bombings in Metro Manila, in a raid in Zamboanga City, the military announced yesterday.
Police and military intelligence officials described the arrest of Hilarion del Rosario Santos, alias Ahmed Santos or Abu Lakay, along with at least five other people, as a "big blow" to the regional terrorist network Jemaah Islamiyah and its local affiliate, the Abu Sayyaf Group.
The authorities have said that the JI and ASG had been using Santos' band of Islamic converts, who mostly come from Luzon and style themselves as the Rajah Solaiman Movement, or RSM, to plan and, when possible, carry out bombings in the capital.
While the Abu Sayyaf had claimed responsibility for the sinking of an inter-island ship that killed more that 100 people last year, some intelligence reports say the RSM was also involved in the attack...
...Santos, who was to be flown to Manila yesterday afternoon, walked with a limp and appeared to be in a daze when Southern Command chief Lieutenant General Edilberto Adan presented him to reporters in Zamboanga City. He was not allowed to talk to reporters, however.
Up to something
"He's still undergoing tactical interrogation. We believe the group was up to something big during the long holiday," Adan said, referring to next week's holidays to mark the Roman Catholic All Saints Day and the end of Ramadan for Muslims.
Wednesday, October 26, 2005