ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Sept. 26, 2008) – The Philippine military detonated Friday a powerful homemade bomb in Lamitan City in the southern province of Basilan, officials said Friday.
Officials said the bomb was left near a grocery store in downtown Lamitan and detonated by soldiers late Thursday. The blast was so powerful that it damaged the steel shutter of the store and wounded one person who was hit by shrapnel.
The explosion left a shallow crater more than a meter wide on the road where the improvised explosive, constructed with a cellular phone, was detonated.
Officials said the bomb was assembled from TNT and the cell phone as an initiator to set off explosion. Instead of the phone ringing, it sends the power to a blasting cap.
“Mayor Roderick Furigay has appealed to residents to stay calm and vigilant,” his executive assistant, Nick Castro, said.
Castro said the foiled bombing coincided with the celebration of the tourism week in Lamitan.
“It is sad to think that while we are working hard to promote tourism and bring peace in the land, there are bad people who will always try to destroy efforts like this, but despite the incident, our celebration will continue,” he said.
No group claimed responsibility for the foiled attack, but Abu Sayyaf and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front are active in Basilan and have been implicated in the spate of terrorism and kidnappings on the province.
The Abu Sayyaf is still holding two aid workers, Esperancita Hupida and Millet Mendoza, they kidnapped Sept. 15 in Tipo-Tipo town. Hupida is the program director of the Nagdilaab Foundation, while Mendoza is a humanitarian worker. The gang demanded as much as P15 million ransoms for the victims’ safe release. (Mindanao Examiner)