MARIVELES (Philippines): Clutching photos and flowers, the relatives of 134 people missing after a Philippine ferry fire visited the wreck yesterday as officials said the passengers included a man named by rebels as a suicide bomber.
Authorities continued to play down claims by the Abu Sayyaf group of Muslim guerillas that it was responsible for the fire that ravaged the ferry in the early hours of last Friday.
But the coastguard confirmed the passenger list bore the name of a man whom the rebels claimed had set off a bomb about an hour into the ship's overnight journey from Manila to the central city of Bacolod with nearly 900 passengers and crew on board.
“Yes, Arnulfo Alvarado is on the manifest list,” said Rear Admiral Arthur Gosingan, head of the coastguard.
“But whether he really is Abu Muadz, whom Abu Sayyaf leader Khaddafy Janjalani claims planted the bomb that ignited the fire, we do not know.”
The WG&A consortium that owns the ferrysaid it was common for transport operators to receive threats but declined to comment on a newspaper report it had been told an attack was imminent. – Reuters
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