Authorities thwart bombing attempt in Basilan

ZAMBOANGA CITY — Authorities have prevented an attempt to set off anew a bomb at the property of a government engineer in Basilan province, police said Thursday.

This came after a “suspicious object” which turned out to be an improvised explosive device (IED) was found around 6 a.m. Wednesday in front of the warehouse of Soler Undug in Barangay Aguada in Isabela City, Basilan.

Undug is the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao’s (ARMM) district engineer for Basilan province.

Supt. Restituto Pangusban, Isabela City police chief, said responding police and military Explosive Ordnance Demolition (EOD) personnel rendered safety procedure after confirming that the recovered “suspicious object” was an IED.

Pangusban said authorities recovered a cellular phone-triggered ammonium nitrate fuel oil (ANFO) pipe bomb, rigged with several one-inch concrete and common nails as shrapnel.

The IED was powered by a nine-volt dry cell battery with rocker switch and detonating cord. The cellular phone’s subscriber’s identity module number is +63938-007-8821, he said.

Pangusban said investigation continues to determine the motive as well as the identity of the suspects behind the bombing attempt.

On February 1, an IED has exploded at the residence of Undug in Purok Yakal in Barangay San Rafael, Isabela City.

No one was killed or injured in the explosion that caused minor damage on the perimeter fence of Undug’s residence.

ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman earlier blamed the Abu Sayyaf bandits as the ones behind the February incident and disclosed that the motive was extortion.

Undug oversees the ongoing implementation of ARMM’s transcentral road project worth millions in Basilan province.