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Philippines Charge Bomb Suspects

November 5, 2002

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MANILA, Philippines (AP) _ Police have filed murder charges against several suspects in a bombing that killed an American soldier and three Filipinos a month ago in the southern Philippines, officials said Tuesday.

Sgt. 1st Class Mark Wayne Jackson, 40, of Glennie, Mich., a Green Beret, part of a small contingent of U.S. troops left behind in Zamboanga after training exercises with Filipino troops.

The murder charges were leveled against five people who were identified and a number of others who were not named, police Superintendent Marvin Bolabola told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.

Bolabola said two of the identified suspects are in police custody, Abduljamin Asanul and Madznul Abdula Ladja. He said both were suspected members of the Abu Sayyaf rebel group, which authorities believe has links to the al-Qaida terror network.

Charged but still at large are Javier Umangas, Amilhamja Joe, and Kenneth Pang. Bolabola said Pang, the owner of the motorcycle used in the bombing, was included among those charged so prosecutors can ask him about his possible involvement in the blast.

Asanul and Ladja are also suspects in the Oct. 20 bombing near a Roman Catholic shrine in Zamboanga that killed one and injured 18 others, the official added.

The explosions were among five deadly blasts last month.

About 1,000 Americans spent six months in the southern Philippines earlier this year in counterterrorism exercises aimed at helping the Philippine military fight the Abu Sayyaf.

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