Gunmen attack 2 vehicles in Zamboanga

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Tuesday, August 3, 2010


A PASSENGER bus and a pickup truck were ambushed minutes apart in the village of Tagasilay, 61 kilometers east of Zamboanga City, while both vehicles were en route to the metropolis Sunday.

The 19 people onboard the vehicles were not hurt, police said Monday.

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Police Station 1 commander Domingo Arguilla said unidentified gunmen opened fire at a passing Rural Transit Management Inc. (RTMI) on the section of the Zamboanga-Pagadian Highway around 11:40 p.m. Sunday.

The bus, which came from Pagadian City, the capital of Zamboanga del Sur province, was carrying 13 people, including the driver and fare collector, when fired upon by the suspects.

The vehicle bore five holes on its windshield, while another bullet pierced through the right side of the bus, Arguilla said.

Few minutes later, a Toyota Hilux pickup driven by Army First Lieutenant Basser Utto was also attacked by the group of armed men in the same area.

Utto, who was with his wife, two children and two security escorts, came from Cotabato City and en route to Zamboanga City.

The Army official's vehicle bore six bullet holes but none of the passengers were hit, Arguilla said.

Police recovered 28 spent shells and two live ammunition of a high-powered rifle from the ambush site.

Sunday night's incident took place three days after an RTMI bus was ambushed in the village of Tagasilay.

An RTMI bus with body number 10222 coming from Dipolog City, the capital of Zamboanga del Norte, en route to Zamboanga City, was ambush around 9:24 p.m. Thursday in the same area.

The bus was carrying 18 people, including the driver and fare collector identified as Lombos Tonio. The fare collector was wounded in the attack.

Zamboanga City Police Office Director Edwin de Ocampo has coordinated with the military's Task Force Zamboanga for a coordinated effort in providing security along the Zamboanga-Pagadian Highway.

The Zamboanga-Pagadian Highway serves as the main passage way for land travel to Zamboanga City coming from the different parts of Mindanao.

Arguilla said they are scouring an area where the suspects have fled and are hiding.

"We are now entering the area," Arguilla said in a mobile phone interview Monday. He, however, refused to name the place.

Arguilla said they have yet to ascertain the identities of the suspects. (Bong Garcia)

Gunmen attack 2 vehicles zamboanga

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