Suspects in bombing (left) are brought before President Arroyo (right)

October 11, 2004

Philippines brings charges in ferry bombing

"We have solved the Super Ferry bombing," said Philippines President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in a statement today.

Six suspected members of the Abu Sayyaf Group have now been charged with the bombing of the Superferry 14 ferry in Manila Bay on February 27, 2004. The explosion claimed 63 lives and wounded several passengers and crew based according to a final report submitted by a Special Board of Marine Inquiry (SBMI). Initial Philippines Government statement had portrayed the incident as likely being an accident.

"Today," said Arroyo, "criminal charges were filed against the six perpetrators."

Arroyo said the six suspects in the ferry bombing were also responsible for the 2001 abduction of three Americans and 17 Filipinos from a beach resort. American hostage Guillermo Sobero was beheaded.

"Their two triggermen are now in custody," said Arroyo, "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."

Habil Dellosa and Alhamser Manatad Limbong, alias Kosovo, were brought before Arroyo in handcuffs at a media briefing after they had been charged with cases of multiple murder, multiple frustrated murder and multiple attempted murder.

Several bags of TNT powders totaling about 80 kilos which were found in the possession of Dellosa and Limbong were also presented to the President during the press conference

Transportation and Communications Secretary Leandro Mendoza said that the report of the Special Board of Marine Inquiry had revealed that the management of ferry operator WG&A received "an extortion letter signed by Abu Bakar Janjalani demanding payment of $1 million for the unhampered use of the waters of Mindanao, otherwise they would do anything to disrupt and destroy their business interest."

In her statement, Arroyo said she had instructed the police and the military to "intensify the manhunt for the two masterminds--Khadafy Janjalani and Abu Soliman--as well as their accomplices."

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