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Night curfew in Manila

world Updated: Nov 30, 2007 03:00 IST

The Philippines imposed a midnight-to-dawn curfew in Manila on Thursday, an official said, after troops stormed a hotel, forcing the surrender of a band of renegade soldiers.

The curfew will be enforced in the capital and surrounding areas between midnight and 5:00 am, Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno told reporters.

"Depending on the security situation it may not be necessary to impose it for a second day, but we will have to wait and see," he said, adding it would allow the authorities to conduct "follow-up" security operations.

"There may still be threats that are out there and we would like to ensure in our follow-up operations that these threats will be addressed," he said.

Puno did not specify what these other threats were but said the renegade soldiers had apparently been joined at the hotel by armed sympathisers, suspected to be former military men.

The siege began when Navy Lieutenant Antonio Trillanes and Brigadier General Danilo Lim walked out of a court hearing into a 2003 mutiny against President Gloria Arroyo and occupied the nearby five-star Peninsula Hotel.

Puno said that during their march to the hotel, civilians joined the group, who switched to military fatigues and brought out firearms.

This curfew was "a necessary inconvenience that we must undergo to ensure the return to peace and order is permanent," said Puno, adding that checkpoints would be set up in the areas covered by the curfew.

He said those who were forced to venture out during the curfew period for emergencies must have identification and be able to provide a reasonable explanation for being on the street.