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Filipino forces find cache of explosives

MARINES and police have seized a large amount of explosives from the house of a man in the southern Philippines with alleged ties to militants linked to al-Qaida, thwarting possible bomb attacks, officials said yesterday.

Security forces raided the house on Jolo island last Friday and found 14 bags of ammonium nitrate, a bag of potassium chlorate and more than 3,500 blasting caps, Jolo provincial police chief Julasirim Kasim said.

The owner of the house managed to escape, he said.

Ammonium nitrate is a fertilizer that can be turned into bombs. Potassium chlorate is a chemical compound used in making explosives and firecrackers.

The raid was part of a campaign to eliminate sources of weapons for the Abu Sayyaf, a Jolo-based group involved in kidnappings, bombings and beheadings, Kasim said.

Navy spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Edgard Arevalo said Nahrin Akmad, who owns the house, is suspected of supplying explosive materials to the Abu Sayyaf.

Akmad is being hunted by police, according to Kasim.

"The confiscation of the said explosive devices and components aborted the reported bombing operations that the bandits intend to conduct," navy spokesman Arevalo said.

Jolo Governor Abdusakur Tan declared a state of emergency in Jolo last month after Abu Sayyaf gunmen threatened to behead three kidnapped Red Cross workers.

One of the hostages, a Filipino woman, has been freed but the two others - a Swiss and an Italian - remain in custody.


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