FBI to help investigate Philippines bombing

More than 100 suspects charged in airport attack

March 16, 2003|By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

DAVAO CITY, Philippines - FBI agents have arrived in this southern Philippine city to help investigate an airport bombing March 4 that killed 21 people, including an American, as critics of the government cast doubt on the findings so far.

Philippine investigators say a suicide bomber, identified as Muntazer Sudang, 23, died at the scene. They have rounded up other suspects, including his father and uncle, and charged many others, including more than 100 John Does who are leaders of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, a group that has fought for an independent Islamic state for 25 years.

But members of the prosecution team concede that the case has problems. The charges filed so far "do not have much of a leg to stand on," one official said.

The six FBI agents and an unspecified number of Australian investigators arrived Wednesday.

William P. Hyde, a 59-year-old Baptist missionary from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was among those killed by the bomb, which ripped through a crowd in a shed that served as a waiting area at the international airport.

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