Bomb explosion rocks Basilan anew

ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/17 October) – An improvised bomb planted by suspected Abu Sayyaf bandits went off early Friday in Basilan province anew, a police official said.

About two hours later, troops foiled another bombing attempt when they reportedly chanced upon the bomb carrier.

Supt. Albert Larubis, Isabela City police chief, said the improvised bomb exploded around 1:45 a.m. Friday at the gate of the Cargill Oil Mill Philippines’ staff house compound on Valderoza Street, Barangay Sunrise in Basilan City.

The Cargill Oil Mill is into grain and oilseed originating and processing, commercial feeds manufacturing, texturizing and sweeteners solutions for food and beverage applications.

Larubis said no one was killed or injured in the explosion except for the minor damage on the post of the gate of the compound.

Larubis said the security guard saw an unidentified person disembarked from a vehicle and left a bag (bayong) in front of the oil staff house compound prior to the explosion.

He said the motive of the incident was extortion citing Cargill Branch Manager Gaspar Katipunan received a text message last September 19 from Monton Indama, a suspected Abu Sayyaf bandit, demanding P50,000.

He said the explosives and ordnance demolition unit and scene of the crime operatives recovered from the blast site a 60-milimeter (mm) mortar shell, parts of cellular phone, nine volts battery snap connector and wirings.

He said a second bombing attempt was foiled when a team from the Army’s 15th Special Forces Company chanced upon an unidentified person carrying a bayong or basket around 3:45 a.m. Friday while conducting mobile patrol in Barangay La Piedad, Isabela City.

He said the suspect ran towards the cemetery and abandoned the bayong he was carrying prompting the Army K-9 unit to conduct paneling.

Larubis said the K-9 unit rendered safe procedure after it was confirmed the bayong’s content was an improvised bomb.

He said the K-9 unit recovered three 60-mm mortar shells, parts of cellular phone, one nine volts battery, two rocker switch, stranded wires, nine volts battery snap connector, a subscriber identification module card, two pieces resistors, two led bulbs, three improvised electric blasting cap, and silicon controlled rectifier.

He said the target of the second bombing attempt was the Caltex depot in Isabela City and the motive was also believed to be extortion.

The incident came two days after a bomb exploded at 11 p.m. Wednesday in Purok Yakal, Barangay San Rafael, Isabela City. No one was killed or wounded in the incident.

The explosion damaged a vehicle and a cottage at the compound of Soler Isnain Undug, the district engineer of Basilan.

Larubis said prior to the incident Undug received extortion demand from the Abu Sayyaf.

Isabela City Mayor Cherrylyn Santos-Akbar has ordered the police and military forces to strengthen security measures in the city following the incident.

Akbar urged residents to stay vigilant and help the police and military authorities in the maintenance of peace and order. (Mindanews)