Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Pre-new year bomb blast kills 7 people in Basilan

SUMISIP, Basilan--- An unidentified man detonated a bomb at a group of people who were preparing to celebrate the new year, killing 7 and wounding five others near a parish church in Tumahubong village here last night (December 31).

A resident who refused to be identified, said that the people were merry-making at a house of a CAFGU named Manuel Cisneros,  when they were startled by a powerful blast at around 10:00 pm.

"There was panic and confusion as we saw blooded victims and people screaming in pain. Five of them died instantly due to their injuries," he said. 

A platoon of soldiers belonging to the Army's 64th Infantry Battalion led by a certain 2nd Lt Herrera immediately responded to secure the crime scene.

The wounded people were initially brought to the military camp where they were given first aid treatment by the Army medics.

The Army also sent another group of soldiers  led by SSgt Gil Tayros to secure the airstrip for MEDEVAC. 

Seven of the wounded victims were airlifted by two UH-1H Huey Choppers towards Zamboanga City at around 2:00am.

Two of the severely injured victims including a child, later died after arriving at a hospital, bringing the death toll to 7. 

Five of those who died were identified by the police as Elbert Gomoba, Lourdes Ablong, Rey Limbin, Kitarul Kaddik and Lenieble Cisneros. 

The motive of the crime is still under investigation,  but some sources in this town claimed that the 'internal bickering' between the management and some members of the rubber plantation cooperative could be the main reason for carrying such a gruesome crime.

Another source said that Casineros could be the main target of the attack as he was involved in security operations against extortionists who wanted to collect money from the management. 

It can be recalled that a series of bloody attacks was carried out by heavily armed men against unarmed rubber tappers in 2012, killing at least six people and wounding at least twenty.

A small band of Al-Qaeda-inspired Abu Sayyaf Group has a presence in the outskirts of the town, particularly in the forested areas around Mt. Abong-abong in Baiwas village here.

The Abu Sayyaf Group has dwindled in numbers after a series of precision attacks carried out by the elite Scout Rangers who were deployed to hunt them down in the forested areas of Sampinit Complex.

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