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6 Fugitive Officers Arrested in Connection with Philippine Coup Plot


Philippine security forces say they have arrested six fugitive military officers wanted in connection with a coup plot against President Gloria Arroyo, and they may have blocked fresh plots against the government.

The men were captured early Friday in a raid by police and military intelligence agents in the Manila suburb of Quezon City. Officials say documents, explosives and weapons were captured along with the men.

An official said the documents included such things as plans of buildings, suggesting possible planning for illegal military action.

General Generoso Senga, the military chief of staff, told reporters the move deals a major blow to military and political adventurism.

"With the arrest of these officers…we believe we have prevented possible conduct of terroristic actions - as revealed by their plans that we have unmasked earlier - in pursuit of continuing efforts to destabilize the government," said Senga.

General Senga said three of the six arrested officers had escaped from a military detention center in January, and the others, who had not been arrested, went absent without leave shortly afterwards. The first three had originally been arrested after being linked to a failed mutiny against President Gloria Arroyo in 2003.

The arrests come in the wake of another alleged coup plot against President Arroyo last February. She blamed that plot on a conspiracy by military adventurers, communist rebels and elements of the political opposition.

This week ABS-CBN television aired a videotaped message by Brigadier General Danilo Lim that is thought to have been recorded around the time of the alleged coup effort. On the tape, General Lim said he was withdrawing support from President Arroyo over corruption, and called her rule illegal and unconstitutional. The general has been under detention since February.

General Lim headed an elite military group called the Army Scout Rangers, many of whose officers were also accused in the 2003 plot.

The Philippine military has been the source of numerous coup plots since the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos was ousted in 1986.

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