Thursday, November 03, 2005

Philippines On Alert For Terrorist Retaliatory Attacks

The Philippine National Police on Thursday placed its antiterrorism operatives on heightened alert following a report that the jihadist Rajah Solaiman Movement would launch attacks in Metro Manila in reprisal for the arrest of RSM founder Hilarion del Rosario, alias Ahmad Santos.
Filipino soldiers escort Hilarion Del Rosario Santos, center, leader of the jihadist Rajah Solaiman Movement
Director Vidal Querol, Metro Manila police chief, said he has ordered the antiterror task force, led by Senior Supt. Federico Laciste, to remain vigilant against possible terrorist attacks. “That's why every now and then I ask for community involvement. We have to develop the national culture of vigilance,” Querol told DZMM. Military intelligence officials earlier revealed that they had lost track of suspected Islamic extremist Tyrone Dawud Santos who was released on bail last April. Santos, brother of RSM founder Ahmad Santos, was arrested in Cubao, Quezon City, in March on a charge of gun possession and was implicated in a plot to bomb a club in Malate, Manila, during Holy Week. He was freed on bail a month later. Rear Adm. Tirso Danga, Armed Forces deputy chief of staff for Intelligence (J-2), said the AFP had been keeping Santos under constant surveillance since his release but “that he dropped from the screen” sometime last week. His “disappearance” coincided with the arrest of Ahmad Santos in Zamboanga City. Danga warned that he had received information that Dawud Santos was contacting suspected bombers in Metro Manila. "Based on our report, (Dawud) has been talking to some bombers in Metro Manila...Because we caught their leader and several followers, it will be the people who will get hurt if they decided to retaliate," he said. He added that Indonesian fugitives wanted for the deadly 2002 Bali bombings also financed the plot to bomb a Malate nightclub. A military intelligence operative who asked not to be named said the pair, Dulmatin and Omar Patek, gave the Santos group P250,000 (about $4,562) to bomb a Malate nightclub in March. "It was used for the purchase of the chemicals to be used," said the official. He said Hilarion del Rosario revealed the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) link under military questioning after his arrest last month. Military intelligence officials earlier said the two JI agents may have been sheltered by Filipino Islamic militant allies in Mindanao. The United States has offered an 11-million-dollar reward for information leading to their capture. Dulmatin and Patek are also being sought by Indonesia for the October 2002 bombings in the tourist resort of Bali that claimed 202 lives.