THE Philippine Army (PA) foiled what could have been a deadly attack of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) following the discovery of improvised explosive device allegedly planted by the bandits in Indanan, Sulu.
According to Col. Antonio Bautista, commander of 1101st Infantry Brigade and Lt Gagula, commander of 100 Infantry Battalion, the IEG composed of a mortar cartridge, 90RR projectile heat, five liters of Ammonium-Nitrate/Fuel-oil (ANFO), battery and an improvised blasting cap was covered with coconut leaves and placed near a road in Bgy. Timbangan.
The report said the IED could have hurt innocent civilians within a 20-meter radius.
JTF Sulu Commander Major General William Gonzales said the bomb was believed to have been made by Abu Sayyaf bomb expert Mundi Sawadjaan, said to be the mastermind of the bombing of the Jolo Cathedral in 2019.
According to 2Lt. Jerrica Angela A. Manongdo, spokesman of Joint Task Force Sulu, lives were saved as a concerned citizen reported the IED to government troops.
“The Abu Sayyaf Group is obviously frustrated by the series of their losses that they resort to the most hideous form of violent extremism — bombing. They want to instill fear, but the bravery and courage of our troops is unsurpassable,” Gonzales said.
The military added they are pursuing 10 Abu Sayyaf members under sub-leader Ellam Nasirin, an affiliate of Sawadjaan.
The Army soldiers clashed with Nasirin’s group and had a 30-minute firefight on Thursday, after which the Abu Sayyaf members withdrew. Bloodstains were later found at the encounter site, which may mean some of the terrorists were wounded, the military said.