Abu Sayyaf eyed in Lamitan blast PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 08 September 2015 11:44

By RICHARD FALCATAN

Police blamed drug pushers with Abu Sayyaf links Monday as behind an overnight bomb attack on a police station in Lamitan City, Basilan,an Abu Sayyaf stronghold.

Lamitan City police Chief Sr. Insp. Gean Gallardo sad the bomb that went off around 9.10 p.m. destroyed one of two gates to the station, but inflicted no casualties.

He added that the improvised explosive device was planted outside the gate and investigators recovered nails, cellphone components and wires where the bomb exploded.

He said that authorities have gathered information that drug pushers carried out the blast, in response to an ongoing campaign against the peddling and trafficking of shabu or Methamphetamine hydrochloride, commonly known worldwide as “meth,” “ice,” crystal meth,” “shabu,” or “kristal.”

He said his men have set up a dragnet around nearby villages where the perpetrators are suspected to be hiding.

Lamitan City is the capital of Basilan, a component province of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

For years, Philippines officials have been gathering information on the Abu Sayyaf’s involvement in drug trafficking, outside of its regular attempts at kidnapping and extortion to raise funds for the acquisition of firearms, explosives and ammunition to be used in its struggle for an independent Islamic state in the country.

In September last year, police were alarmed at the discovery of firearms, grenades, and a large amount of methamphetamine hydrochloride during a raid in Basilan.

Then Abu Sayyaf leader Khaddafy Janjalani claimed in 2006 that the group was financed by Mohammed Jamal Khalifa, a brother-in-law of Osama bin Laden’ - although this has never been proven.

Both men are understood to have died in 2006, Janjalani’s body found after being reportedly shot in the neck, while Khalifa was killed by United States special operations forces in Madagascar.

The Abu Sayyaf engages in kidnappings for ransom, bombings, assassinations and extortion.

It is the most violent of the religious separatist groups operating in the southern Philippines, and claims to promote an independent Islamic state in western Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago.

It is currently holding foreign hostages in its jungle base on the island province of Sulu,