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Military downplays Manila 'terror threat'

No intelligence reports suggest an attack is imminent, general says

Security forces inspect a chapel destroyed by a bomb in Mindanao last week Security forces inspect a chapel destroyed by a bomb in Mindanao last week
  • by ucanews.com reporters, Manila
  • Philippines
  • September 19, 2011
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Military chiefs in Manila yesterday downplayed reports that Islamists intend to mount a bombing campaign in the country’s capital.

Major-General Tristan Kison, head of the National Capital Regional Command, said the military has not received any intelligence reports regarding possible attacks supposedly directed by Basit Usman, leader of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front-Special Operations Group.

Usman, a known bomb expert, is also affiliated with the international terrorist network Jemaah Islamiyah and the local Abu Sayyaf Group, according to Gen Kison.

He was referring to reports quoting Felicisimo Khu, head of the Directorate for Integrated Police Operations in Western Mindanao, as saying that intelligence information suggests  “terrorists” are planning attacks in Metro Manila, Davao City and General Santos City.

Khu reportedly made the comments following a series of bomb blasts in Cotabato City last week, allegedly carried out by the group led by Usman.

“We have not received any report there are going to be bombings [in Metro Manila], and if ever there were, we would follow them up,” Gen Kison said.

“Here in Metro Manila, we have intensified our intelligence gathering and cooperation with other agencies to prevent or preempt threats to the people’s security,” Gen Kison added.

Meanwhile, around 200 Muslim and Christian children held a rally yesterday at the People Power Monument in Quezon City to call for peace in Mindanao.

The rally, sponsored by the Manila Jaycees, Asia-America Initiative and the armed forces, focused on the “richness and beauty” of Mindanao and its people rather than on conflict and terrorism.

Related reports:

Mindanao negotiators need help
Activists urge Mindanao ceasefire

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