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Bomb seized 2 arrested at Arima

By Wendy Campbell

Officers from the police criminal intelligence unit, as well as the Defence Force’s intelligence department, yesterday raided a house in Malabar, Arima, where they seized what they said was a bomb. They arrested two men, who are aligned to an Arima mosque.

Intelligence officers said the men, aged 32 and 33, one from Barataria, the other from Arima, were about to leave a house at Concorde Gardens when the team of officers swooped down on them.

Police said the men were packaging the bomb, which was equipped with wires, timers and antennae. They also said they found passports and airline tickets, which the men were planning to use today.

Intelligence sources said the bomb was to be detonated at an Arima bank sometime yesterday evening. The men were set to leave the country at lunchtime today.

Yuri Telemaque, who told the Guardian his mother owned the house, said one of the suspects rented a one-bedroom apartment at the back.

He said he did not really interact with the man.

“He (the suspect) would normally keep to himself, but I was not looking for anything like that from him,” Telesford said.

One neighbour, who wanted to remain anonymous, expressed shock at what had happened.

“This area is normally very quiet and people are friendly. I am frightened by what happened,” she said.

Police sources said the man had recently returned from the United States.

When contacted yesterday, Commissioner of Police Trevor Paul was evasive. He said that “officers are investigating something of that nature.” However, he said, they were still gathering all the facts before giving an informed comment.

The men were being interrogated up to late evening. They had been under surveillance for 24 hours, police said.

Intelligence sources said they did not believe the men were linked to the previous bombings on July 11 on Frederick Street, Port-of-Spain; on August 10, on George Street, PoS; on September 10 at KFC, Independence Square, PoS; and on October 14 near the popular Smokey and Bunty bar in St James.

There were no bombing incidents in November, and top police officials had told the Guardian then that they were not going to rule out the possibility that another bomb would go off.

For the bombings, which saw over 20 people being injured, police questioned several people, among them UNC activist Sean “Bill” Francis and four teenagers who are reported to be affiliated with the Jamaat al Muslimeen.

The organisation’s leader, Yasin Abu Bakr, was present during the interviews, but later said he was not behind the bombings. He vowed to catch those responsible.

Bakr is now behind bars, awaiting the outcome of a preliminary inquiry hearing in which he is charged with sedition and incitement offences arising out of a speech he made on Eid-ul-Fitr.

Police also detained Lenville Small, brother of Trinidadian Lance Small, who is serving a term in a US prison after being convicted on firearms and ammunition charges there. Lenville, described as a bombing suspect, was detained on November 19, and held in custody for close to two weeks before his release on December 1. — With reporting by Geisha Kowlessar

©2004-2005 Trinidad Publishing Company Limited

Trinidad and Tobago News

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