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Embassy Row: Murder charges filed

- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Philippines this week filed murder charges against four men in the fatal stabbing of a U.S. diplomat's husband, a Marine Corps officer who was killed after fighting with the suspects outside a gated community where he lived with his wife and three children.

Philippines Prosecutor-General Claro Arellano said Thursday that he filed the charges two days earlier against Juan Abastillas, Ospic Caburay, Galicano Datu III and Crispec dela Paz. All of the suspects are in their 20s.

They are accused of killing Maj. George Anikow, 41, who lived in Manila with his wife, Laura, a member of the diplomatic staff of the U.S. Embassy, and their children, who are 6, 10 and 12 years old.

Maj. Anikow was stabbed Saturday after getting into what police described as a row with four men who had tried to enter the upscale Bel Air Village residential compound in Makati City, a suburb of the capital, Manila.

Maj. Anikow was walking toward the compound when he noticed a dispute between the four men and a security guard who refused to allow them to enter the neighborhood. Maj. Anikow approached the men's sport utility vehicle and tapped on a window, which enraged the suspects, who then jumped out, police said.

"They mauled and stabbed him in the back and shoulder," Manuel Lukban, a senior police official, told reporters in Manila.

Maj. Anikow was rushed to a hospital, where he died of his injuries.

Embassy spokeswoman Tina Malone denounced the "violent attack" against a "beloved spouse of a U.S. Embassy staff member and a father of three."

Maj. Anikow had served in Afghanistan as a civil affairs executive officer with the Marine's Regional Combat Team 3.

His decorations include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, Navy-Marine Corps Achievement Medal, two Afghanistan Campaign Medals, and the Humanitarian Service Medal, according to Marine Corps Times.

Philippine officials insisted the attack posed no danger to foreign diplomats in Manila.

"It is a very sad incident," Foreign Ministry spokesman Raul Hernandez told reporters, "but we think it is an isolated incident, and it is not targeted towards the status and function of certain people."

Praise for Libya

The relatives of the Americans killed in a Libyan terrorist attack 24 years ago over Lockerbie, Scotland, have a new friend in high places in Tripoli.

The Libyan government this month named a new foreign minister – Ali Suleiman Aujali, a former ambassador to the United States who denounced dictator Moammar Gadhafi and defected to the uprising that eventually toppled him last year.

Mr. Aujali also has been a supporter of the Victims of Pan Am Flight 103 in their quest to get the full story behind the bombing of the New York-bound airliner on Dec. 21, 1988, which killed all 259 onboard and another 11 in the Scottish village of Lockerbie.

"The Libyans are lucky to have him in that position, and so are we," Frank Duggan, the group's president, told Embassy Row.

Mr. Duggan noted that Mr. Aujali pledged his help to the relatives of the victims when he spoke at Arlington National Cemetery last year on the anniversary of the terrorist attack.

"We will help you to find the truth," Mr. Aujali said at the memorial service. "And the Libyan people are with you."

A Libyan intelligence agent, Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, was the only person convicted for the bombing. He was sentenced to life in prison in 2001, but Scotland released him in 2009 after doctors said he was terminally ill with cancer and had only months to live.

He lived for another three years and died in May.

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297 or email jmorrison@washingtontimes.com. The column is published on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

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