21 Aug 2017 - 9:51
Philippine police seize bomb chemicals, components
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines: Police on Sunday seized more than 300 kilograms of ammonium nitrate, 75 blasting caps and a timing fuse from a house in a village in Zamboanga city.
According to a report by ABS-CBN news, the bomb-making components were recovered from the home of a 25-year-old native of Basilan province who confessed that he was distributing them to local fishermen engaged in blast fishing.
Though the government prohibits the use of explosives in fishing, which destroys fish habitats, some fishermen still resort to the practice.
An undercover operation was carried out by the Regional Special Operations Group at the suspect’s house where a police officer posed as a buyer and was able to purchase ammonium nitrate in a plastic bag with four blasting caps and a timing fuse, the report added.
Amid ongoing clashes in Marawi City between government forces and militants, the suspect denied having any link to terrorist groups in Mindanao or producing bombs for any terror plot.
The news outlet quoted P03 Noel Erasga, the team leader of the Explosive Ordinance Disposal Unit, as saying that ammonium nitrate is a regulated chemical normally used in agriculture as a high nitrogen fertilizer but had found its way into the hands of local militant groups who used it in manufacturing bombs.
The suspect was charged with Illegal possession of explosives. He admitted buying the 15 sacks of ammonium nitrate on the black market in the southernmost Philippine province of Tawi-Tawi, which borders Sabah, Malaysia.