Al-Qaeda tied to bombings in Philippines
MANILA, April 13 – Al Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf terrorists disguised as policemen went on a bombing rampage in the city of Isabela in southern Philippines today, killing 12 people and wounding 15 others in the worst terror attacks in months, officials said. Isabela City Mayor Cherylyn Santos-Akbar said three of those killed were Abu Sayyaf members when the bomb they were carrying exploded prematurely inside their vehicle at 10:30 a.m. near the office of the Department of Education and Culture.
The other fatalities were three troopers of the Philippine Marines and one police man who engaged the bombers in a running gun battle. The remaining five were civilians caught in the crossfire.
The military captured two Abu Sayyaf terrorists who were wounded during the firefight before horrified civilians.
“The bomb exploded prematurely while they were carrying it looking for a target,” Akbar told reporters.
1Lt. Steffani Cacho, Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom) information officer, said the second explosion occurred around 11:10 a.m. beside the Sta. Isabela Cathedral Church at around 11:10 a.m. wounding 15 people.
The bomb was placed on a motorcycle that was parked at the parking area of the cathedral. The explosion destroyed 17 vehicles.
The third bomb was detonated by explosive and ordnance demolition team of the Philippine National Police before it could explode.
Basilan Governor Jum Akbar has asked the military and police to track down the remaining suspects.
Akbar also called on the residents to be vigilant and to rally behind the authorities by way of providing information that would lead to the arrest of the suspects.
The Abu Sayyaf terror group had been involved in numerous bombings and kidnappings in various parts of the country since 1995. It has linked with al-Qaeda and the Indonesian terror group Jemaah Islamiah.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has neutralized many of the Abu Sayyaf members, including their top leaders, Abdurajak Janjalani, his brother Khadaffy Janjalani and Abu Sabaya, among others.
The government of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has been relentlessly pursuing the Islamic terrorist group the past decade.