Police probe reports of Manila bomb plots

MANILA • Philippine police said yesterday they were checking reports that militants might be plotting bombings in Manila, but they had no confirmation of any plan and the public should not be alarmed by a leaked police report on possible attacks.

The police in the capital city have been on high alert since fighting erupted last month in Marawi city in the south of the predominantly Christian country between the military and militants linked to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

"We have no confirmation whatsoever of any terror attack in Manila," police director Oscar Albayalde told ANC television, responding to concern over a leaked police intelligence report warning of bomb attacks that spread on social media.

He said that the leaked report was genuine but contained raw information that was distributed to police units to check and seek verification.

The internal memo, dated June 16, said the police had information that members of the Maute group - the ISIS-linked faction that is fighting in Marawi city - were planning to set off bombs in the capital.

"The content of the memorandum is meant for validation and confirmation, it's not meant to scare the public," Mr Albayalde said, adding that he had ordered an investigation into how the document was leaked.

He said that the police were "on top of the situation" and people should not be alarmed.

DO NOT BE ALARMED

We have no confirmation whatsoever of any terror attack in Manila... The content of the memorandum is meant for validation and confirmation, it's not meant to scare the public.

POLICE DIRECTOR OSCAR ALBAYALDE, on a leaked report warning of bomb attacks that spread on social media.

Financial markets were largely unruffled by fears of violence, with the battle in Marawi entering its fifth week.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 21, 2017, with the headline 'Police probe reports of Manila bomb plots'. Print Edition | Subscribe