Manila– Amid fears that terrorists will strikeduring Holy Week, the Philippine military said it had foiled a plot by the Abu Sayyaf to bomb “soft targets” in Metro Manila with the arrest of a Muslim convert and the seizure of 11 sacks of explosives inQuezon Cityon March 23.
An Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesmansaid the plot was uncovered following the arrest of Tyrone Dave Santos, who yielded 11 sacks of explosives and 18 canisters containing improvised explosive devices with enough power to blow up a two-storey building.
Santos, alias Daud, is allegedly a "balik-Islam" (back to Islam) convert of the Rajah Solaiman Revolutionary Movement (RSRM). The movement comprises former Christians who had converted to Islam . A police intelligence report last year saidthe RSRM’s main objective is to seek converts to Islam in thePhilippines’ predominatly Roman Catholic north to carry out terror attacks.
Santoswas arrested by the military on March 15 and later led security forcesto recover the explosives at the group’s supposed warehouse in Fairview,Quezon City,on March 23. However, some suspects in the area managed to elude arrest through the air-conditioning vent of the warehouse.
"The capture ofSantosand the subsequent recovery of this large amount of explosive has foiled a major plan of the Abu Sayyaf group to conduct more bombings in urban centres," AFP-National Capital Region Commandchief Lt-ColAllan Cabalquinto said.
Security forces throughout the country are on alert for retaliatory attacks by the Abu Sayyaf following last week’s failed jailbreak attempt that left 22 alleged members of the Muslim extremist group dead at the hands of police.
* Sayyaf bomb plot foiled as explosives seized in Fairview (The Philippine Star, March 24)