At least 12 people were killed in a daylight bomb attack by armed men using police and military uniform in Isabela City, Basilan Island in southern Philippines Tuesday.
A group of around 25 men believed to be members of the dreaded Abu Sayaff militants associated with al-Qaida terrorist group attacked strategic points in Isabela, Basilan Island in Southern Philippines killing at least 12 people Tuesday.
Military authorities in Basilan island reported gun battle ensued when two men using military uniform shot and killed some military men who were approaching the vehicle loaded with explosives according to ABS-CBN early morning TV news. According to the Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom), 5 civilians were killed, 3 Marines, 1 policeman, and 3 Abu Sayyaf (ASG) combatants in the attacks in Isabela City, Basilan province.
ABS-CBN News reports:
The gunmen detonated two home-made bombs near a church and a school sports grandstand in Isabela City in the latest show of force by the Abu Sayyaf network, which is blamed for the nation's worst terrorist attacks. "I think (the attack) is meant to create havoc.... Definitely it falls under terrorism," Maj. Gen. Juancho Sabban, head of the Philippine Marines, told reporters in Manila.
Regional military chief Lt. Gen. Ben Dolorfino said the main goal of the Abu Sayyaf could be to kidnap high profile persons in Isabela and that the bombing could be a diversion tactic by the militant group.
"It looks like they were planning to kidnap someone but they did not expect our troops to react immediately," Dolorfino said, adding he did not know the target of the suspected abduction plot. Latest reports from the island province say that the situation is now under control as the military and police forces have been dispatched to pursue the islamist militants and keep order in the island.
Basilan, an impoverished island of nearly half a million people, is part of the southern Philippines' Mindanao region, where the Abu Sayyaf and other Muslim rebel groups are fighting for an independent homeland.
(original article appeared @ Digital Journal