Sunday, January 21, 2007

Soldiers Alerted For Car Bombs In Southern Philippines

COTABATO CITY (Mindanao Examiner / 21 Jan) – Security forces were in heightened alert following the recovery of a car laden with explosives on a village in Maguindanao province, south of the Philippines.

The car was discovered abandoned in Pagatin village in Datu Saudi Ampatuan town on Friday. “Civilians, alarmed by a possible terror attack, informed patrolling soldiers about the suspicious car,” Lt. Col. Julieto Ando, spokesman of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, told the Mindanao Examiner.

He said troops put up additional road blocks and checkpoints on highways around Maguindanao to prevent the entry of explosives. "The car may have been abandoned because of strict security on the road," he said.

No group claimed ownership of the car, but the province is a known stronghold of Moro rebels and had been used by the Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiya as a springboard for terror attacks. Aside from rebels and terrorists, private armies of politicians also operate in the area.

Ando did not give details about the explosives recovered from the car, but the Philippine News Agency, quoted the official as saying that troops recovered as many as six 81mm and 60mm mortar bombs and a 90mm anti-tank rocket, including 220 pounds of metal shards contiguous to the main bomb mechanism.

Just this month, a series of bomb explosions killed at least 7 people and wounded more than 40 others in the southern cities of General Santos, Cotabato and Kidapawan, which police and military blamed to rouge leaders of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiya.

The Abu Sayyaf previously used motorcycles, cars and bicycles laden with explosives to attack civilian targets in the volatile region.
(Mindanao Examiner)

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