Monday, June 27, 2011

Bombings make Jemaah Islamiyah presence felt across Philippines

The Asian-based terrorist cell Jemaah Islamiya (JI) is making its presence felt in the country through bombing operations

The spokesman of the Philippine Army 6th Infantry Division, Col. Prudencio Asto, disclosed Monday that the bombing incident that happened early morning in front of the provincial satellite auditing office in Kidapawan, North Cotabato was the handiwork of the members of local JI members.

The perpetrators, Asto said, were among those trained Muhammad Usman Basit of the JI special operations group who specialized in bomb making, especially improvised explosive device (IED).

“[Their motive] of course [is] to make havoc to the populace and inform that they are still around. They’re making their presence felt. This is the instruction of Usman to them,” he added.

Asto explained that he has no doubt Basit’s men were responsible for the bombing as shown by their style and frequency of execution and based on the evidence recovered that showed that an IED was used.

According to Asto, the group has no direct targets and just do it at random without really the intention to harm but only to show that they were still around and prove that they were successfully trained in bomb making.

He added that they have intensified their operations against the group by deploying more soldiers in populated areas and set-up additional checkpoints as the group is always on the move.

It was earlier reported that Basit, along with 11 other militants, was killed by an American drone attack in Pakistan. The US State Department has placed a $1million reward on his head.

But the military disputed it, saying that Basit is still alive and just hiding in Mindanao.

Police Senior Superintendent Cornelio Salinas, police chief of Kidapawan City, said there was no casualty during the explosion.

In his report to the PNP high command in Camp Crame, Salinas said the IED was devised from a 60millimeter mortar and was detonated through a cellphone.

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