Basilan attacks strike fear among contractors, exec says
ZAMBOANGA CITY — Security camera footage showed four suspected Abu Sayyaf members, between 14 and 24 years old, planting explosives outside the house of Basilan district engineer Solder Undug in Lamitan City on the night of Feb. 1.
No one was hurt in the blast, but Undug said it was the third explosion that hit his house.
He said these attacks and extortion attempts by bandits delayed the completion of a number of government road projects in the province.
Wary about their safety, contractors had either backed out of the projects or had proceeded slowly, he said.
Contractors in Mohammad Adjul and Ungkaya Pukan towns had withdrawn from the projects, Undug said.
Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr., commander of the Western Mindanao Command based here, said the bandits did not want road projects on the island as it would shrink areas under their control.
The 55-kilometer Transcentral Road project, which would connect Lamitan City and Sumisip town, for instance, would reach the remaining Abu Sayyaf-controlled areas by the middle of this year, Galvez said. —Julie Alipala
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