22 soldiers wounded in Basilan blast

Rappler.com
Army troops were patrolling a remote village in Sumisip town when the explosion occurred

An Air Force soldier on board a Huey chopper stays on alert as it hovers over Abong-Abong peak in Sumisip, Basilan in this file photo taken in November 2009. (Photo by David Santos)

MANILA, Philippines – At least 22 Army soldiers were wounded in an explosion in Sumisip town, Basilan on Tuesday, April 10, the military said.

Initial reports reaching the military said that two Army platoons under a Captain Magundayao and a Lieutenant Guerero were patrolling the peak of Mt Abong-Abong, Barangay Baiwas, Sumisip town at around 8.30 am when anti-personnel landmines exploded.

According to the military, the explosives were planted by the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in the ridges of the mountain.

One platoon suffered the brunt of the blast. Five of the troops were critically wounded while 17 suffered slight injuries, according to the reports. Bad weather in Basilan also reportedly delayed the transport of the wounded soldiers to Zamboanga City.

“The ASG designed the area to be impenetrable,” Maj Gen Noel Coballes, commander of the Western Mindanao Command, said in a statement. “While our current priority is our wounded soldiers, efforts to clear the area of ASG along with their landmines and IEDs will continue in order to ensure that civilians who would want access to Abong-Abong for farming are assured of their safety.”

Only last Thursday, April 5, suspected Abu Sayyaf bandits killed 3 militas in an early morning ambush in the same town. One bandit also died in the firefight.

The Abu Sayyaf members attacked the military-armed civilians while the latter were conducting security patrol at a rubber plantation in Barangay Tumahubong, Sumisip.

In Zamboanga del Sur also on Tuesday morning, April 10, suspected New People’s Army rebels attacked a police station in the town of Tigbao, disarmed the cops and carted away with guns and a laptop. – Rappler.com