Improvised bomb made safe near Colombo airport: police

Sri Lankan security forces officers secure a site believed to be a hide out of the militants following a shoot out in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Sunday, April 21, 2019. (AP)
Updated 22 April 2019
0

Improvised bomb made safe near Colombo airport: police

  • The discovery comes after a series of eight devastating bomb blasts ripped through high-end hotels and churches holding Easter services, killing at least 207 people, including dozens of foreigners

COLOMBO: An improvised pipe bomb discovered close to Colombo’s main airport was successfully defused by the Sri Lanka airforce, police said.
A police source told AFP that a “homemade” pipe bomb had been found late Sunday on a road leading toward the main terminal, which remains open with heavy security after Easter Sunday’s deadly bomb attacks.
“It was a homemade bomb, with explosives put into a pipe,” said the source.
Airforce spokesperson Group Captain Gihan Seneviratne said the IED was believed to be locally manufactured.
The discovery comes after a series of eight devastating bomb blasts ripped through high-end hotels and churches holding Easter services, killing at least 207 people, including dozens of foreigners.
“It was a crude six-foot pipe bomb that was found by the roadside,” an air force spokesman said. “We have removed it and safely defused it at an air force location.”
There were disruptions to flights, but Sri Lanka’s national carrier Sri Lankan has already asked leaving passengers to report to check-in counters at least four hours prior to departure because of tight security checks at the Bandaranaike International airport.
The apparently coordinated attacks were the deadliest to hit the country in the decade since the end of a bloody civil war that killed up to 100,000 people and evoked painful memories for many Sri Lankans.


Duterte foes cry foul as Philippine police push sedition charges

Updated 19 July 2019
0

Duterte foes cry foul as Philippine police push sedition charges

  • Thirty-six opposition figures are accused of cyber libel and sedition
  • A series of online videos ahead of May’s mid-term elections alleged that Duterte and his family members were involved in the illegal drugs trade

MANILA: Opponents of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte expressed shock and outrage on Friday at police moves to charge dozens of them with sedition, calling it persecution aimed at stamping out scrutiny of his increasingly powerful rule.
Thirty-six opposition figures are accused of cyber libel and sedition for orchestrating a series of online videos ahead of May’s mid-term elections. The videos feature a hooded man alleging that Duterte and his family members were involved in the illegal drugs trade, which they deny.
The man, who had said he was a witness, later surrendered and appeared with police on television to say his claims were false and that he was cajoled into making the videos by opposition members. They included the vice president, lawyers, Catholic priests, a former attorney general, and incumbent and former lawmakers, the man said.
The justice department is looking into the complaint, which is the latest move against Duterte’s detractors who say the aim is to create a power monopoly for a president who already enjoys a legislative super-majority and a public approval rating of about 80 percent.
Duterte insists he is open to challenges but has shown no qualms about threatening high-profile critics, several of whom he said last month he would jail if they tried to impeach him.
Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said Duterte had no involvement in the police sedition complaint.
“We have nothing to do with this case, not at all, absolutely nothing,” he told news channel ANC. “Let the judicial process do its work.”
Antonio Trillanes, a former senator and Duterte’s strongest critic, described the complaint as “political persecution and harassment” intended to stifle democratic dissent.
A spokesman for Vice President Leni Robredo, who was not Duterte’s running mate and was elected separately, called the complaint “completely baseless.” Her party ally Senator Francis Pangilinan said it was part of a series of moves toward removing her from office.
Leila de Lima, an anti-Duterte senator detained on drugs charges, said it was “hogwash, pure hogwash,” and Samira Gutoc, a candidate in recent Senate elections, urged the police not to become partisan.
“I really am baffled,” Gutoc said of being accused of involvement.