Saturday, September 26, 2020

Zambo folks panic after reports of explosion

ZAMBOANGA CITY – Security forces locked down a busy road Saturday in the southern Filipino port city of Zamboanga after receiving reports of an improvised explosive device left at a garbage dump near where soldiers are manning a checkpoint.

A radio station was quick to report of an alleged explosion in the area only to correct it later.  The baggage was discovered by two trashmen and immediately reported it to village officials, who quickly informed the police about the find. 

Police and soldiers quickly cordoned off the road and prevented vehicles and civilians from getting near the area as they waited for the bomb squad which came late. 

A member of the police explosive ordnance disposal team carefully inspected the baggage and disrupted it from afar and eventually found two rifle grenades.

It was not immediately known whether the grenades, which are usually placed in the barrel of a rifle, was deliberately thrown or hidden among the pile of trash because of the strict security checkpoint up ahead. 

Zamboanga remains under heightened alert because of threats of bombings by the pro-ISIS group Abu Sayyaf responsible in the deadly twin suicide attacks in Sulu province in August. Because of the threats, security forces launched a massive hunt for 2 Indonesian and a Filipino Abu Sayyaf terrorists who are planning attacks in the Zamboanga Peninsula.

Mayor Beng Climaco also released the photos of the terrorists and warned the public to keep on the lookout for the trio. She said the government has offered a P3 million reward for the capture of the Indonesian Andi Baso and his female partner Reski Fantasya; and Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Mundi Sawadjaan, who is being linked to the recent twin suicide bombings in Jolo town in the neighboring province of Sulu. 

“Authorities warn the public against 3 members of the Sulu-based ASG believed to have been sent out for a mission to sow terror in Zamboanga Peninsula. The national government is offering a reward of P3 million for the information that could lead to the arrest and conviction of each of the suspects,” Climaco said in an advisory alongside photos of the terrorists. 

The photos were provided by the military’s anti-terror Joint Task Force Zamboanga which also called on the public to stay vigilant. “The community is advised to be vigilant and immediately report any suspicious person / local terrorist,” it said. 

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