A Muslim woman covers her face from patrolling Filipino soldiers in the southern Islamic city of Marawi in the restive island of Mindanao, where security forces are battling members of the militant Abu Sayyaf group tied to Jemaah Islamiya terrorists. (Zamboanga Journal)
ZAMBOANGA CITY (Zamboanga Journal / 29 Jun) Troops disarmed a powerful homemade bomb planted near a government school in the southern Philippine island of Jolo, where security forces are battling members of the Abu Sayyaf group tied to Jemaah Islamiya terror network, officials said.
Officials said civilians informed the soldiers Monday about the bomb planted just 50 meters outside the Pitogo Elementary School in Kalingalang Kaluang town. "Troops have secured the area and safely disarmed the bomb," said Captain Jose Ritche Pabilonia, a spokesman for the military's Southern Command.
Pabilonia said the bomb was connected to an electric wire and had a firing mechanism. He did not say whether the Abu Sayyaf planted the bomb, but the group is actively operating in the town. "We still cannot say if it was an Abu Sayyaf or not, but the operation against the terrorist group is ongoing," he said.
The military have blamed the Abu Sayyaf group for the spate of killings, bombings and kidnappings in the troubled island, about 950 km south of Manila.
Washington offered as much as $5 million bounty for known Abu Sayyaf leaders, including Khadaffy Janjalani. President Gloria Arroyo also put up P100 million rewards for the capture of the group's leaders and their members dead or alive. The US included the group on its list of foreign terrorist organizations.