2 Abu Sayyaf bandits involved in 2018 Basilan blast surrender

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 22 2020 11:45 AM

Courtesy of Western Mindanao Command

MANILA - Two members of the Abu Sayyaf terror group tagged in a 2018 bomb attack at a military checkpoint in Basilan surrendered to authorities on Thursday, the military said.

The bandits yielded to the local government of Hadji Mohammad Ajul town and members of the 4th Special Forces Battalion, 19th Special Forces Company of the Philippine Army. 

"[They] were involved in the Lamitan bombing last July 31, 2018,” said Brig. Gen. Fernando Reyeg, commander of Joint Task Force Basilan.

The bandits handed over an M1 carbine with magazine, 5 rounds of a caliber .30 carbine ammunition, 1 M1911 caliber .45 pistol with magazine, and 4 rounds of a caliber .45 ball ammunition.

The two will be included in the government program for rebel returnees.

“As I always say, peace is a shared responsibility. I am happy that our partners and stakeholders are always there to support us in our peace campaigns,” said Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, commander of the military's Western Mindanao Command.

“Through our convergence, we are able to sustain the momentum and attain positive results in our journey towards peace and sustainable development here in the region,” Sobejana added.

The July 2018 explosion in Lamitan town killed 10 people, including 4 paramilitary troopers and 4 civilians.

Militant group Islamic State claimed responsibility for the suicide bomb, which it called "a martyrdom operation."

Philippine authorities in September 2018 had arrested 8 people allegedly involved in the incident. Among them were a bomb expert and several men who allegedly helped load the improvised bomb in a van.

The bomb attack came after President Rodrigo Duterte approved a law creating a new autonomous Bangsamoro region with its own political and economic powers.