Thursday, October 08, 2009

Bombing injures 2 in Basilan province

BASILAN, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / October 8, 2009) – Two civilians were injured in a bomb explosion in Lamitan town in the southern Philippine province of Basilan, police said on Thursday.

The town’s police chief Roland Democrito said the blast occurred Wednesday night and that a woman and man were both injured. “It was an IED, an improvised explosive device packed with concrete nails. Two civilians, a man and woman, were hit by shrapnel,” he told the Mindanao Examiner.

He said the bomb was planted in a trash bin and exploded at around 7.30 p.m. during a heavy downpour. “It was raining hard and that probably helped prevent more casualties, otherwise the area is packed with people,” the officer said.

No individual or group claimed responsibly for the bombing, but al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf group and Moro rebels are actively operating in Basilan, one of five provinces under the troubled Muslim autonomous region.

Aside from Basilan, security forces were battling militants and rebels in Sulu and Maguindanao and also in Lanao province, all in the autonomous region, one of the poorest in the country, although its regional governor Zaldy Ampatuan, is among the wealthiest in the southern Philippines. Ampatuan rarely visits the provinces.

Police said it was unknown whether the Abu Sayyaf was behind the attack, but the group had been blamed for the spate of attacks and kidnappings for ransom in Basilan.

The group was blamed for dozens of kidnappings, including the abduction of Sri Lankan peace worker Umar Jaleel since last year in the province. (Mindanao Examiner)

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