Philippine military foils bomb attack in passenger van terminal
The Philippine military has foiled a bomb attack on a passenger van terminal in the country's troubled south after arresting a suspected bomber and recovering the explosive to be used in the assault, a spokesman said Monday.
Major Armand Rico said the suspect, Armand Mano, an alleged member of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) bomb squad, was arrested Sunday in Talayan town in Maguindanao province, 930 kilometres south of Manila, the dpa reported.
Rico said that based on the initial interrogation, the target of the bomb attack was the passenger van terminal in Isulan town in nearby Sultan Kudarat province.
"The bomb was supposed to be detonated anytime (Monday) in the passenger van terminal in Isulan," he said. "But we intercepted it."
Rico did not give details on Mano's arrest, noting that "follow-up operations are ongoing" to capture others involved in the foiled attack.
Last week, policemen recovered three homemade bombs in the southern city of Zamboanga, but there was no immediate indication that the incidents were related.
The MILF is the largest Muslim rebel group fighting for an independent Islamic state in the southern region of Mindanao. It is holding peace talks with the government, but the negotiations have been suspended since last December.
Hostilities between the MILF and the military have been escalating in Mindanao amid the suspension in the peace talks, with sporadic fighting erupting between the two sides in the past two weeks.
An MILF spokesman has warned that MILF commanders were already getting impatient with the delay in the peace talks with the government, resulting in the recent outbreak of fighting in some areas in Mindanao.