Abu Sayyaf suspected in fresh attack vs rubber co-opBy Julie Alipala
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines—Suspected Abu Sayyaf gunmen on Wednesday evening rained bullets on the service vehicle of the manager of a rubber cooperative in Basilan, barely a week after staging a similar attack that killed six of the co-op’s workers.
Colonel Ramon Yogyog, Task Force Basilan commander, said the fresh attack occurred around 8 p.m. as the service vehicle of Taha Katoh, manager of the Tumahubong Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Integrated Development Coop. Inc. (Tarbidci), was passing by Barangay Upper Cabengbeng in Sumisip town.
Nobody was harmed in the incident, Yogyog said.
Katoh told the Inquirer by phone that he used the same vehicle earlier in the day for Isabela City but only his driver and security escorts were in the vehicle when it returned to Tumahubong.
“The Abu Sayyaf may have thought I was riding in it that’s why they strafed it,” he said.
Herculano Dalumbar, Tarbidci vice chair, said the vehicle was hit but none of those onboard were hurt.
Yogyog said it was the fifth time the Abu Sayyaf attacked civilians identified with Tarbidci.
The attacks were related to the co-op’s refusal to pay the Abu Sayyaf protection money, according to its officials.