Philippines: 66 alleged militants convicted in kidnappings

An Associated Press investigation in 2014 indicated that dozens of people were detained without strong evidence. (File/AFP)
Updated 14 December 2018
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Philippines: 66 alleged militants convicted in kidnappings

  • Nearly 100 people were charged in the kidnappings
  • 52 people were kidnapped in March of 2000, including two teachers who were beheaded by the extremist group

MANILA: A Philippine court has found 66 alleged members of the Abu Sayyaf guilty of kidnapping dozens of students, teachers and a Catholic priest in the south in 2000, in the largest single conviction involving the brutal Muslim militant group.
The Regional Trial Court branch 261 on Friday acquitted 20 other people who have languished in jail for several years while insisting they were innocent in the brazen March 2000 kidnappings of 52 people, mostly young students at two schools on Basilan island. Two kidnapped teachers were beheaded and a priest died while in the custody of the militants.
Nearly 100 people were charged in the kidnappings. An Associated Press investigation in 2014 indicated that dozens of people were detained without strong evidence.


Car bomb attack kills eight security force members in Afghanistan’s south

Updated 32 sec ago
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Car bomb attack kills eight security force members in Afghanistan’s south

  • The bomber detonated an explosives-packed car close to the governor’s convoy on a major highway between Logar and the capital Kabul
  • Logar is vulnerable to attacks due to the Taliban’s active presence in most areas of the province
KABUL: A car bomb attack on a convoy of the governor of Afghanistan’s southern Logar province killed at least eight Afghan security force members on Sunday morning but left the provincial chief unharmed, local officials said.
Shahpoor Ahmadzai, the spokesman for Logar’s provincial police, said the bomber detonated an explosives-packed car close to the governor’s convoy on a major highway between Logar and the capital Kabul.
“Unfortunately 10 others are wounded, and the number of casualties may rise” Ahmadzai said, adding that the provincial chief of the country’s intelligence agency was also in the convoy but unhurt in the attack.
Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Taliban, said in a statement that the group was responsible for the blast and that a “large number” of Afghan special forces had been killed or wounded.
Logar, located around 75 kilometers from Kabul, is known as a strategic gateway to the capital and is vulnerable to attacks due to the Taliban’s active presence in most areas of the province.
The militant group have ramped up attacks in strategic provinces in recent months in their battle to expel foreign forces, topple the Western-backed government and restore their version of hardline Islamic law, even as peace talks with the United States ramp up.