Security forces seize chemicals, blasting caps in Compostela gold-rush area

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ZAMBOANGA CITY –Authorities seized chemical fertilizers and cyanide, including dozens of blasting caps, commonly used by illegal gold miners, in Compostela Valley on Monday.

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Military and government agents arrested several people in Nabunturan town in connection with the illegal sale of the chemicals.

Seized were at least 275 kilos of ammonium nitrate, 569 blasting caps and 1,132 meters of time fuse and three kilos of cyanide, according to Army Captain Alberto Caber, a spokesman for the Eastern Mindanao Command.

“Authorities are still investigating those arrested to determine if they are communist rebels or selling those illegal chemicals to the New People’s Army,” Caber told The Manila Times.

He said the raid was carried out by soldiers, agents of the National Bureau of Investigation and local policemen.

The chemicals were handed over to the Army’s Explosive Ordnance Division, Caber said. Those arrested will be charged for the illegal sale, manufacture and possession of explosives.

The military did not say how many people were arrested, but Compostela Valley is a gold-rush area where tens of thousands of illegal miners continue to operate using homemade explosives and cyanide to extract gold and silver.

AL JACINTO

 

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