Tuesday, April 13, 2010

11 dead in Sayyaf bombings, gun fight in Southern Philippines

At least 11 people are killed in a bomb attack and clashes Tuesday, April 13, 2010 between Abu Sayyaf militants and soldiers in the southern Philippine province of Basilan. (Mindanao Examiner Photo)

BASILAN, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / April 13, 2010) – Abu Sayyaf militants disguised as policemen and army troops detonated bombs and opened fire Tuesday in Isabela City in the southern Filipino province of Basilan, triggering clashes that killed at least 11 people, officials told the regional newspaper the Mindanao Examiner.

Officials said soldiers clashed with at least six militants who were transporting improvised explosives in a van near the Basilan National High School. The fighting, which broke out at around 10 a.m., left five people dead - two soldiers and three militants.

A motorcycle bomb exploded 30 minutes later outside a Catholic church and killed one civilian and wounded several more. Another bomb planted on a road just outside the house of a local judge was detonated by authorities, but the powerful blast damaged his garage.

The other militants escaped after holding several civilians and used them as shield. Some of them were killed, including a policeman who tried to rescue the hostages. Security forces were pursuing the Abu Sayyaf gunmen, but the fate of the hostages remains unknown.

“We are pursuing the Abu Sayyaf which is behind the bombing,” said First Lieutenant Steffani Cacho, a regional army spokeswoman.

She said the militants were clad in police and military uniforms.

Senior Superintendent Antonio Mendoza, the provincial police chief, said they have put up checkpoints and road blocks to prevent the militant from escaping.

“We have put up checkpoints and road blocks and operations are going on against the terrorists,” he said.

On Monday, an army soldier was also wounded in an ambush by suspected Abu Sayyaf and Moro rebels in Ungkaya Pukan town outside Isabela City. (Mindanao Examiner)

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