Landmine blast injures 22 soldiers in Basilan

ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/10 April) – Twenty-two soldiers were wounded, five of them in critical condition, in a landmine explosion near a bandit camp in Basilan province, military officials disclosed Tuesday.

Col. Ricardo Visaya, commander of the 104th Infantry Brigade based in Basilan said the explosion occurred 8:40 a.m. Tuesday near a former Abu Sayyaf camp in Abong-Abong Peak, Baiwas, Sumisip town.

He said some soldiers on reconnaissance patrol tripped on an improvised explosive designed as a landmine.

Government troops overran the Abu Sayyaf camp last month.

Visaya disclosed that five of the 22 injured soldiers were in critical condition.

The military did not reveal the identities of the wounded soldiers, who all belong to the 13th Scout Ranger Company of the Army’s 4th Scout Ranger Battalion based in Basilan.

Visaya said that troops from the 10th Scout Ranger Company, also from the 4th Scout Ranger Battalion, were deployed “to assist in casualty evacuation.”

The wounded soldiers were airlifted to Camp Navarro General Hospital in this city aboard two Huey helicopters, he said.

Wesmincom chief Maj. Gen. Noel Coballes said the Abu Sayyaf bandits have “designed the area to be  impenetrable” before it was overrun by the troops last month.

However, Coballes said the incident will not stop the troops from ensuring the safety of civilians who wound want to do farming activities in Abong-Abong Peak. (MindaNews)