Troops foil Abu Sayyaf's bomb plot in Zamboanga

GOVERNMENT forces have foiled the Abu Sayyaf Group’s (ASG) bombing plot and arrested two of the three people it sent to Zamboanga City, a top military official announced on Sunday, September 24.

Colonel Leonel Nicolas, Task Force Zamboanga (TFZ) commander, said the ASG members sent to carry out bombings were arrested when the TFZ and Zamboanga City Police Office (ZCPO) launched a counter action against them.

Nicolas identified those arrested in separate counter actions as Omar Askali alias "Ayub" and Mukaram Sapie alias "Mukram."

Nicolas said Askali, who has undergone bomb-making training, is a henchman of Basilan-based Abu Sayyaf leader Furuji Indama.

u201cIntelligence reports revealed that the group will bomb public places in the city three days from now. This prompted our troops to conduct a joint operation with the police to capture the bandits and preempt their bomb ploy,” he said.

He said Askali was arrested around 10:30 a.m., Saturday, September 23, along Gov. Lim Avenue, downtown. Seized from his possession were hand grenade, a cellular phone, and two identification cards.

He said Sapie was arrested in a follow-up operation in the village of Taluksangay hours after the arrest of Askali.

Recovered from Sapie was an improvised bomb and a caliber .45 pistol.

Nicolas said that the information they gathered showed that Indama sent Askali, Sapie and a certain Shayif to conduct bombings in the city.

He said that follow-up operations “are still ongoing.”

The military and police in coordination with the City Government have readied security plan to ensure the peaceful celebration of the 2017 Zamboanga Hermosa Festival.

The festival will kick-off on October 1 and its highlight is on October 12, the feast day of Our Lady of the Pillar, the most revered saint of the city.

The City Government has lined up activities in line with the Zamboanga Hermosa Festival celebration. (SunStar Philippines)

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