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Police Arrest Five Suspected Islamic Militants

December 16, 1995

MANILA, Philippines (AP) _ Police and intelligence agents arrested five suspected Islamic militants and seized explosives following a raid today north of Manila, officials said.

The suspects, who reportedly entered the country on Pakistani passports on Nov. 17, were identified as Azfar Hussain, Mwahid Khan, Mehmood Al, Mohamad Aslam and Mahamod Saeed.

They were arrested before dawn in the town of San Jose del Monte, 10 miles north of the capital, said Chief Inspector James Brillantes.

Authorities seized two C-4 plastic explosives, a stick of dynamite, a hand grenade, two detonators and a detonating cord.

Police said they suspect the men of plotting to poison the waters behind a dam north of the capital or sabotage transmission lines of the National Power Corp. in Bulacan province. The possible motives were not immediately clear.

Bulacan provincial police chief George Alino said he had the men watched _ and later arrested _ because of their ``dubious movements.″ Brillantes said they had been frequenting neighborhoods which police believe are havens for criminal gangs dealing in drugs and guns.

In April, police arrested six suspected extremists believed to have ties to the Filipino militant group Abu Sayyaf.

The government accuses the Islamic group of aiding Ramzi Yousef, the alleged mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing who is in U.S. custody. The group is also suspected of helping Yousef in alleged plots to assassinate Pope John Paul II in Manila and blow up American airliners over the Pacific.

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