(Suspected suicide bomb attack) 10 killed in Lamitan explosion Print
Wednesday, 01 August 2018 15:46

By Bhong Simbajon

Six militiamen, to include their Army Cadre, and four of their dependents were killed while seven were wounded when a suspected suicide bomber triggered a powerful car bomb near an Army detachment along the Magwakit intersection of Barangays Bulanting and Colonia, Lamitan City yesterday morning.

The car bomb was reportedly intended for the scheduled parade in Lamitan City last Monday where hundreds of people gathered for a special public event.

Perpetrators, however, failed to execute their dastardly act that day after military authorities got wind of the terror plan.

At around 5:48 a.m. yesterday,  members of the 9th Scout Ranger Company led by Lieutenant Rodriguez together with members of the Civiian Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) were manning their checkpoint near the Magwakit detachment when they noticed a white van being driven by a foreign-looking individual approaching.

Army First Scout Ranger Regiment Commander Col. Montano Almodovar said that the suspect was waving his hand, signalling the military personnel to come closer and help him push the van which apparently showed signs of mechanical failure.

Unable to communicate with the foreigner, the militiamen called members of the Scout Ranger Company for additional assistance.

Minutes before the arrival of the reinforcement troops aboard their KM35 vehicle, the van exploded with the suspect on board.

The powerful bomb shattered the vehicle into pieces and killed seven government troops who were manning the detachment at the time.

Two women and a minor, all of who are military dependents, were also killed.

Seven soldiers who were on board their military vehicle were wounded by shrapnel and shattered glass.

The bomb created a hollowed portion  in the middle of the thick concrete road, toppled some rubber trees and destroyed the entire military detachment, indicating the massive impact of the explosive.

It was learned that the white van came from Barangay Tuburan in the municipality of Mohammad Adjul, a report now being investigated by the military.

Almodovar said that prior to the incident, the military already received information about a plan of local terrorist groups to conduct bombing activities in Lamitan City and nearby towns.

Almodovar suspects that the bomb was intended for the Lamitan activity which was attended by hundreds of people last Monday.

He said that terrorists may have had difficulty in implementing their initial plan due to the intensified security by military troops in the area last Monday and decided instead to trigger the explosion yesterday morning near the detachment area.

“If we haven’t prevented the thing from entering Lamitan City, it might have brought a more devastating disaster, but my men have sacrificed their lives rather than inflict danger to the innocent victims,” Almodovar said.

The five wounded Ranger soldiers were immediately evacuated on board military rescue helicopters to Camp Navarro Hospital inside Western Mindanao Command for appropriate medical attention, while further investigation is still being conducted by the military bomb experts to determine the type of high grade Vehicle Enabled Explosive (VEEO)  used by the suspected bomber.

Lieutenant General Arnel B. Dela Vega, commander of the Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom), committed to exhaust every available resource under his disposal to identify the perpetrators in the soonest possible time so that the people of Basilan will have the peace that they truly deserve. (Bhong Simbajon/RMN News)