Blast hits Lamitan City
Lamitan City, Basilan Province – A grenade explosion hit a copra warehouse late Wednesday in this city in the troubled Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, security officials said.
Marine Captain Maria Rowena Muyuela, a military spokeswoman, said the grenade was lobbed at the warehouse owned by businessman Efren New. She said there were no reports of casualties from the attack which occurred at around 7 in the evening at Quezon Boulevard.
“The grenade was thrown from the outside and there is no report of casualties. The investigation is going on to determine the motive and the perpetrator of this dastardly act,” Muyuela told the regional newspaper Mindanao Examiner.
No individual or group claimed responsibility for the attack, but authorities suspect the Abu Sayyaf could be behind this. In September, two men on a motorcycle also lobbed a grenade inside the warehouse owned by another trader, Bobong Yumul, in Lamitan City.
The blast occurred two days after police and military disarmed an improvised explosive left at a gas station in Basilan’s Isabela City.
Inspector Dahlan Samuddin, a regional police spokesman, said two masked men on a motorcycle left a plastic bag containing the explosive at the ASL gasoline station. He said the explosive, whose ingredient was mostly ammonium nitrate, and wired to a blasting cap and cell phone as triggering device, was inside a cooking pot when recovered by members of the local bomb squad.
Authorities have foiled several bombing attempts in Isabela City with one police report saying the bombers escaped on a pick-up truck, raising suspicions that a group may be trying to destabilize the security situation in Basilan for a still unknown reason.