Car loaded with bombs seized in Marawi; suspects flee
MARAWI CITY – Soldiers on Friday intercepted a white Innova loaded with improvised explosive devices and other bomb-making components following a chase here on Friday.
A suspect aboard the vehicle was wounded but he managed to elude capture, along with another man, said Col. Joselito Pastrana, commander of the 65th Infantry Battalion – one of the units that went to the scene.
Pastrana said combined Army units had put up a checkpoint and were on the lookout for the vehicle with conduction sticker YM 6499 as there had been reports it would be transporting IEDs.
He said when the vehicle was spotted, soldiers had tried to flag it down at the checkpoint in Barangay Lilod here but the unidentified driver suddenly made a U-turn.
The soldiers chased the vehicle until they finally caught up with it. The suspects, one of whom was wounded when fired at by the soldiers, had escaped, he said.
Based on the vehicle’s registration, it was owned by a member of the Maute family – whose other members were being hunted down because of involvement in various atrocities in Lanao del Sur, including the beheading of two kidnapping victims in April.
The group being led by Maute family members, which had reportedly pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, was also suspected of staging Wednesday’s attack on the headquarters of the Army’s 103rd Infantry Brigade here.
Lt. Col. Alexander Osop, the local military spokesperson, told the Philippine Daily Inquirer that unidentified men fired an M203 grenade, which exploded at one of the bunkers inside the camp around 7 p.m. but no one was harmed.
He said as troops were investigating the attack, some of them heard a phone ringing inside a garbage bin, just outside the camp’s fence.
When they verified it, Osop said soldiers found an improvised explosive device fitted with a mobile phone as remote detonator. Apparently, the ringing was caused by the mobile detonator but it was still not certain why the bomb – made out of TNT and packed nails – failed to explode.
He said the initial theory was that the IED encountered technical problems compounded by the wet ground as it rained earlier that night.
While soldiers were busy with the IED, Osop said they were fired upon by some men.
“Later, a fast moving vehicle with unidentified armed men fired toward the responding troops,” he said.
Osop said the military had suspected that the attack on the military camp was also perpetrated by members of the Maute group. SFM
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