Soldier killed in Basilan roadside blast PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 04 August 2015 11:01

A soldier was killed Sunday when a roadside bomb exploded near a highway in Basilan, hours before a convoy carrying public officials was to pass through en route to Sumisip town in the island province.

Police investigators are still unsure if the IED was intended for the convoy of Gov. Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and his older brother, Basilan Rep. Jim Hataman, who traveled together later the same day using the same route on their way to Sumisip town for an official engagement there.

Reports reaching the ARMM’s regional police office in Maguindanao said Abu Sayyaf bandits planted the bomb, fashioned from an 81-millimeter mortar projectile rigged with an improvised blasting mechanism, under a tree near a stretch of the Lagayas-Cabangalan section of the Basilan circumferential road in Tipo-Tipo town.

The slain soldier, Army Corporal Hadjulla Manda, was to approach the spot where the improvised explosive device was planted after sensing there was something there when the bomb went off.

The victim was among a group of soldiers dispatched to secure the route so that the Hatamans and other ARMM officials could safely travel to Barangay Buli-Buli in Sumisip to officiate there the settlement of three clan wars involving six Yakan families.

“I don’t want to think the bomb was intended for me and my companions. I’m not discounting that possibility though,” Hataman on Monday morning told Catholic station dxMS in Cotabato City via mobile phone.

The Abu Sayyaf is not covered by the ceasefire accord between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. The extremist group has been trying to derail the current bilateral peace and security efforts of the military and the MILF in Basilan.

Abu Sayyaf forces in Basilan are hostile to the ARMM governor for his peace efforts in the island province.

Abu Sayyaf gunmen last month planted a roadside bomb in another portion of the same thoroughfare, which exploded several minutes after the convoy of Gov. Hataman passed by,  en route to southwest of Basilan to inspect infrastructure projects.