Soldier killed, 8 others hurt in Basilan landmine blast
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines — A soldier was killed while eight others were wounded when a landmine, suspected to have been planted by the Abu Sayyaf, went off in Basilan around 8 a.m. Tuesday.
Lieutenant Colonel Paolo Perez, commander of the 18th Infantry Battalion, said his men were conducting road security when the landmine exploded as their vehicle was traversing an area between Tipo-tipo and Albarka towns.
A military report reaching the Western Mindanao Command here said the explosion took place in Sitio Bulak Peyat in Barangay (village) Tipo-Tipo Proper in Tipo-Tipo town.
“It was market day in Tipo-tipo and there were many people. We were providing security, including the conduct of road patrol,” Perez said by phone.
He said of the eight wounded soldiers, two had serious injuries. They were brought to Zamboanga City for medical treatment.
Perez said that based on initial investigation, bomb particles that were recovered are similar to those made by a Malaysian Jemaah Islamiyah terrorist that the military recovered from Tuburan Mohammad Ajul last May.
He also said that a brief firefight between the reinforcing soldiers and about seven to 10 Abu Sayyaf members followed after the explosion. The bandits ended up heading towards a Moro Islamic Liberation Front area in Baguindan.
Perez added that coordination with the Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities has yet to be made before the soldiers could pursue the bandits in the MILF area.
Earlier, Governor Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao had urged the military to pursue the Malaysians – identified as Mohammad Najib Bin alias Anas; Mohammad Joraimi Bin Awang Raimee alias Jandal; and Dr. Mahmud Bin Ahmad alias Handzalahdoc – because they have played central role in the development of the Abu Sayyaf’s bomb-making capability.
He said the Malaysian jihadists also apparently influenced the Abu Sayyaf to use minors as bomb couriers.
Colonel Rolando Bautista, commander of the Army’s 104th Infantry Brigade in Basilan, said Abbas Alam, a notorious Abu Sayyaf leader, was the operator of the bandit group’s bomb-making activities.
Alam was first arrested in July 2002 during a crackdown on the Abu Sayyaf but was freed due to lack of evidence.
He was again arrested in 2011 and was among those who were charged in connection with the July 2007 Al Barka attack. The case against him was eventually dismissed and he returned to his old ways. With a report from Frances Mangosing, INQUIRER.net
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