ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Apr. 9, 2011) – Security forces recovered an improvised explosive late Saturday in Basilan province in the southern Philippines, officials said.
Officials said the bomb was found by patrolling troops near the Sofia hotel in Isabela City minutes after an improvised explosive exploded inside the Spasky lodging house in Lamitan City also in Basilan.
The Abu Sayyaf group with ties to the Al-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiya is believed behind the bombing in Lamitan and the foiled attack in Isabela City.
“We have tightened security in Basilan because of threats of Abu Sayyaf attacks. We have intelligence reports that the terrorist group is targeting hotel and gas stations,” Army Colonel Alex Macario, commander of military forces in Basilan province, told the Mindanao Examiner.
He said soldiers have put up checkpoints in Isabela following the bombing of the Spasky lodging house in Lamitan shortly before 7 p.m. The powerful explosion destroyed the rooming house, but the number of casualties was not immediately known and soldiers were sent to the area to search for possible survivors from the rubble of the rooming house.
No individual or group claimed responsibility for the attack, but previous bombings in Basilan had been largely blamed to Abu Sayyaf militants with links to Al-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiya terrorists.
The Abu Sayyaf is still holding a Chinese-Filipino trader Larry Tam delos Santos who was kidnapped in December in Basilan’s Isabela City. And the group is believed behind two more kidnappings which occurred in Zamboanga City and in the town of Titay in Zamboanga Sibugay province and that the victims – Olivia Barredo, 36, and Randy Talania, 9, were allegedly taken to Basilan. (Mindanao Examiner)