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Six arrested for Philippines bombings: Military

Philippine security forces have arrested six people, including four women, suspected of involvement in a bomb attack this week and the kidnapping of Red Cross workers, the military said.

world Updated: Jul 09, 2009 16:01 IST

Philippine security forces have arrested six people, including four women, suspected of involvement in a bomb attack this week and the kidnapping of Red Cross workers, the military said on Thursday.

The women are wives of members of the Al-Qaeda-linked militant group Abu Sayyaf, which was blamed for Tuesday's blast on Jolo island and for the January 15 abduction of three staff of the International Committee of the Red Cross, the statement said.

"There is reason to suspect cell phones found in their possession could be part of the triggering mechanism that set off the bomb," said the statement, quoting Philippine navy spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Edgard Arevalo.

The bombing killed two people and wounded 31, a government statement said, revising an earlier toll figure of six people dead and 30 injured.

Rowena Aksan and Nursima Annudden, two of three known wives of Albader Parad, leader of an Abu Sayyaf unit holding Italian Red Cross worker Eugenio Vagni hostage, were arrested at a military checkpoint near the town of Indanan on Jolo island about three hours after the bombing.

Rabia Polalon Asiri and Marwina Salasain, the wives of two suspected Abu Sayyaf bomb experts, and their two male drivers were also detained, Arevalo said.

He said Aksan would be charged in court on Friday for the Red Cross kidnappings. Two of the hostages, Swiss Andreas Notter and Filipina Mary Jean Lacaba, were released separately in April.

Witnesses have said Aksan was with Lacaba while she was being held by the Abu Sayyaf.

The six are also suspected of providing logistical and other support to the Abu Sayyaf, Arevalo said, adding that a "large amount" of cash had been seized from the group.

The Abu Sayyaf has been blamed for the country's worst attacks in recent years, including the bombing of a passenger ferry off Manila bay that killed over 100.

Intelligence officials in the region and in the Philippines say it once received funding from Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda network.

In addition to the Jolo island blast, another 10 people were wounded on Tuesday in a separate bombing in Iligan city, an attack officials also blamed on the Abu Sayyaf.