Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Philippine security forces pursue suspected bombers

Police patrol Sulu province in the southern Philippines. (Mindanao Examiner Photo)

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Dec. 29, 2010) – Security forces were pursuing Wednesday two unidentified men who escaped after leaving behind a mortar bomb near the Sulu provincial capitol building in the southern Philippines, officials said.

Officials said alert provincial guards and policemen securing the building spotted the men before dawn and chased them, but failed to catch up with the duo. “The men fled on motorcycle after they were chased by provincial guards and policemen,” said Lieutenant Colonel Randolph Cabangbang, a regional army spokesman based in Zamboanga City.

He said security forces recovered an 81mm mortar bomb left behind by the men. “The bomb would have been used for another terrorist activity,” he said.

Sulu police chief Amil Baanan said they have deployed more policemen near the sprawling capitol grounds and vital government installations to protect them from terrorism.

“We have deployed additional forces to secure vital installations against possible terror attacks,” Baanan said.

It was unknown whether the bomb was intended for the governor of Sulu, Sakur Tan, who was among 11 people wounded last year after a motorcycle bomb exploded near his convoy outside his office.

Tan also survived a suicide bombing this year outside the airport in Zamboanga City and police blamed his political foes with links to the militant group Abu Sayyaf as behind the attack.

On Christmas day, Abu Sayyaf rebels also bombed a Catholic church inside a police base in the capital town of Jolo which left 11 people wounded, including a priest.

The Abu Sayyaf has been blamed for the string of terror attacks not only in Sulu province, but other areas in Mindanao. Police and military said Indonesian terrorists who are members of the Jemaah Islamiya are aiding the Abu Sayyaf. (Mindanao Examiner)

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