A Philippine military armored troop carrier passes by a dirt road in the southern Philippine province of Sulu. Four government soldiers were injured in an improvised bomb explosion on Thursday, March 4, 2010 in nearby Basilan province. The military blames the blast to the al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf group. (Mindanao Examiner Photo)
BASILAN, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Mar. 5, 2010) – Four government soldiers pursuing al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf militants were wounded when an improvised bomb exploded on a village in the restive province of Basilan, south of Zamboanga City in Mindanao, officials told the Mindanao Examiner.
Officials said the explosion occurred Thursday in the village of Baiwas in Maluso town, an area frequented by militants.
“Elements of the 32nd Infantry Battalion who were conducting clearing operations at a suspected Abu Sayyaf-frequented area in the village of Baiwas in Maluso accidentally set off planted improvised explosive devices,” said Army First Lieutenant Steffani Cacho, a regional military spokeswoman.
She said one soldier was also injured in clashes with the Abu Sayyaf on Tuesday in Sumisip’s Pamatsaken village and four more wounded in a land mine explosion in Baiwas village in Maluso town.
“This is continuous proof of the treacherous character of the Abu Sayyaf group and their lack of respect for human rights,” Cacho said.
Last week, more than a dozen people were killed after Abu Sayyaf and Moro rebels attacked a small village in Maluso town. Ten villagers were also injured in the raid.
Authorities linked the Abu Sayyaf to the spate of attacks on civilian and military targets and kidnappings for ransom in the southern Philippines. Basilan is a known stronghold of the militant group. (Mindanao Examiner)