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Philippines Arrest Two U.S. Brothers as "Terrorist Suspects"
(Hrvoje Hranjski, Associated Press, December 29, 2003)
Philippine authorities said Monday that they have arrested two American brothers for suspected links to terrorism, as the country remained on alert over the reported presence of foreign Muslim militants in the south. . . . Michael Ray Stubbs and his brother James, a convert to Islam, have been held at an undisclosed location since they were arrested earlier this month in the town of Tanza in Cavite province, 21 miles southwest of Manila, an immigration official said on condition of anonymity. The official said the brothers were of Middle Eastern origin but gave no other details. The authorities did not disclose the exact charges the men could face or provide details about their alleged links to terrorism. . . . The arrests came as the government warned earlier this month that Indonesian members of the Southeast Asian terror group Jemaah Islamiyah have been training Filipino rebels in bomb-making and other tactics in the south of the country. . . . police and military forces have increased the security at ports, airports, train stations and other public places. . . . The Philippines previously has detained and deported foreigners on suspicion of terrorism.
posted by LoZo 12:13 PM
Leader of Abu Sayyaf kidnappers' group captured in Philippines
(Helsingin Sanomat, December 8, 2003)
The Philippines Army reported on Sunday that they had captured a senior rebel leader from the Islamic militant Abu Sayyaf group. Galib Andang, also known as "Commander Robot", is one of the top-ranking officers in Abu Sayyaf, a loose organisation that has been responsible for the kidnapping of numerous Western hostages in recent years. . . . Abu Sayyaf or "Bearer of the Sword" have been cited as terrorists by Washington and Manila, with alleged links to the al-Qaeda network of Osama bin Laden. However, their modus operandi has been mainly to kidnap foreigners for ransom, and the initial motivation - the fight for an independent Islamic state in the south of the Philippines - has given way to loosely organised banditry. . . . Galib Andang was apparently wounded in both legs in a firefight prior to his capture on Sunday. He was flown from Zamboanga City to Manila and taken by ambulance to Camp Aguinaldo, where he will presumably be interrogated. Filipino officials have not ruled out Andang's extradition to any country that wishes to put him on trial, but this will only be after he faces charges - and the possible death penalty - in the Philippines.
posted by LoZo 4:54 PM
Philippines may extend stay in Iraq
(JapanToday, December 7, 2003)
The Philippines may extend for another six months the presence of its contingent in war-torn Iraq, Foreign Secretary Blas Ople said Thursday.
The Philippine presence is composed of 55 soldiers, 26 policemen and 15 doctors and nurses. They are halfway into their six-month mission there that includes helping provide basic services and working with communities. (Kyodo News)
posted by LoZo 6:45 PM
Philippines pushes national ID system
(Borneo Bulletin Online, December 2, 2003)
President Gloria Arroyo has asked Congress to authorise a national identification system to help the Philippines combat terrorism and fraud . . . The system would combat swindling, electoral fraud, and preventing a terrorist from getting into the country using false identity papers "and causing so much damage to our economy", Golez said on ABS-CBN television. . . . Golez said concerns were "overblown" that a national ID system would restrict civil liberties or be used to harass government critics. He said those views were put forward by groups seeking to bring down the government through the use of arms. . . . President Arroyo this year designated the Jemaah Islamiyah, a group of Islamic militants operating in Southeast Asia with ties to al-Qaeda, as the Philippines' number-one security threat. Manila is also battling communist guerrillas and Muslim separatists.
posted by LoZo 10:21 PM
Radio broadcaster becomes 7th journalist murdered in the Philippines this year
(Category.net, December 2, 2003)
Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontières) voiced outrage at the fatal shooting today of local radio broadcaster Nelson Nadura on the central island of Mastabe. His death brought the number of journalists murdered so far this year in the Philippines to seven, the highest annual total in 15 years. . . . The organisation stressed that, despite President Gloria Arroyo¹s proposal to pay some 15,000 euros to any person helping secure the arrest of the murderer of a journalist, no real progress has been made in the investigations into any of the recent murders. . . . Aged about 40, Nadura was shot five times as he was leaving the studios of radio DYME by motorcycle just a few minutes after presenting his morning news programme ³Opinion publico², which covers local and national politics. The police were looking for two gunmen who fled from the scene. DYME is owned by the Espinosa family, which is very influential on Mastabe island. Several of its members plan to run in next May¹s general elections. . . . A colleague of Nadura told Reporters Without Borders by telephone that the reasons for the killing are unknown. The police have said there could be a link to the guerrillas of the communist New People¹s Army (NPA), of which Nadura was once a member. . . . Nadura was the 43rd journalist to be murdered since 1986.
posted by LoZo 9:59 PM