ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/17 November) – A baggage found in a school in Lamitan City in Basilan yielded an improvised explosive device, officials said Monday.
The explosive was found around 7:50 a.m. Monday at the back of one of the classrooms of the elementary school in Barangay Colonia, Lamitan.
Lamitan City Vice-Mayor Roderick Furigay said over the phone the IED was discovered after the students informed the teachers they saw an unattended baggage at the back of one of the classrooms.
Furigay said the teachers immediately reported the matter to the police for proper action.
Senior Insp. Gean Gallardo, Lamitan City police chief, said his men in coordination with the Provincial Public Safety Company personnel cordoned the place and immediately coordinated with the Army’s explosive ordnance demolition (EOD).
Gallardo said the Army’s 39th EOD team conducted disruption procedure several minutes after the explosive was found.
Furigay said they believed it was the handiwork of the Abu Sayyaf to divert the attention of the government forces pursuing the bandit group in the nearby towns.
The IED was found a week after authorities thwarted another alleged bombing attempt on a gasoline station in Isabela City, the capital of Basilan.
Military forces have launched an offensive against the Abu Sayyaf in the towns of Tipo-Tipo, Ungkaya Pukan, and Sumisip, which started after the November 2 ambush-slay of six soldiers.
The soldiers were providing security to the workers of a construction firm undertaking a Saudi-funded road concreting project, which is part of the Basilan circumferential road, when suspected Abu Sayyaf bandits ambushed them in Sumisip.
Last Monday, EOD personnel defused an IED in Isabela City.
The IED concealed in a cooking pot was placed by two masked men at a gasoline station in Barangay Riverside. (MindaNews)