6 terrorist members charged for Philippine ferry bombing
The Philippine authorities have charged six members of the Abu Sayyaf kidnap-for-ransom group for the super ferry bombing in February that left more than 100 people dead, the government said on Monday.
"We have solved the Super Ferry bombing. Today, criminal charges were filed against the six perpetrators. These are the same people responsible for the Dos Palmas kidnapping," Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said in a statement, referring to the Abu Sayyaf group.
The Abu Sayyaf was behind the kidnapping of American missionary couple Martin and Gracia Burnham, American-Peruvian Guillermo Sobero from the posh Dos Palmas resort in Puerto Princesa City in the western Philippine province of Palawan in late May 2001.
"The two men who planted the bomb are already in custody, while the four others, including the two masterminds remain at large," Arroyo said in a statement.
"Their two triggermen are now in custody, including the one who beheaded American hostage Guillermo Sobero, and their cache of TNT explosives had been seized, which prevents similar bombings from being perpetrated," she added.
Arroyo said she is instructing the police and the military to intensify the manhunt for the two masterminds -- Abu Sayyaf leader Khadafi Janjalani and Abu Soliman, and their two other accomplices.
The arrest of the two suspects illustrates the fact that her administration have been able to stabilize the security situation with the completion of the medium-term plan in record time and setthe stage for the systematic and comprehensive solution to the problem of poverty in the country within the next six years, Arroyo said.
"To strengthen our fight against terrorism, which is a prerequisite to our fight against poverty, I ask Congress to pass the anti-terrorism bill," she added.
On Feb. 27, an explosion ripped the Superferry 14 in Manila Bay that killed more than a hundred of its passengers and crews.
The Abu Sayyaf rebel group claimed it had smuggled explosives onto the superferry, however, the authorities only insisted that the incident was a maritime accident until now.