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Manila army questions soldiers over coup plot

Two colonels and six soldiers belonging to various special forces were being detained and questioned, in connection with an alleged conspiracy to overthrow Prez Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

india Updated: Mar 09, 2006 12:19 IST
Reuters
Reuters
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Two colonels and six soldiers belonging to various special forces were being detained and questioned, in connection with an alleged conspiracy to overthrow President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, army officials said on Thursday.

Arroyo, who survived a crisis last year over accusations of vote-rigging and graft, invoked emergency rule for a week before lifting it last Friday, after security chiefs said the threat had eased, and investors warned of damage to economic reforms.

The military has said that agitators continue to try to recruit soldiers to join the alleged plot against Arroyo by communist groups, some of her political enemies and rogue troops.

A senior army official said that seven of the eight officers and junior officers in detention were members of the elite Scout Rangers regiment, whose commander Brigadier-General Danilo Lim was removed during the brief state of emergency.

The soldiers are accused of planning to join Lim and 17 other Scout Rangers at anti-Arroyo rallies on Feb. 24 in a bid to spark unrest in the crowd by withdrawing support for the president.

"They are under restrictions while awaiting the recommendations of the inspector general," said the army official, who declined to be identified.

Two Marine commanders and four top officials of the police's elite unit have also been removed and face investigation.

Five leftist lawmakers wanted for questioning remained holed up in Congress, waiting for police to produce arrest warrants. A sixth member of Congress has been in custody since Feb. 25, a day after Arroyo declared emergency rule.

Intelligence officials have linked other opposition figures and religious leaders to the plot.

First Published: Mar 09, 2006 12:19 IST