x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Suspected Abu Sayyaf militant killed by his own bomb

A suspected Abu Sayyaf militant was killed by his own bomb when it exploded as he was transporting it by motorcycle in the southern Philippines.

MANILA // A suspected Abu Sayyaf militant was killed by his own bomb when it exploded as he was transporting it by motorcycle in the southern Philippines, a military commander said.

The explosion killed Reynald Sapilin and destroyed his motorcycle yesterday in a scarcely-populated rubber plantation village in Lamitan city on Basilan island, where the Al Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf has been active for years, army Col Carlito Galvez said.

Sapilin may have planned to detonate the bomb in Lamitan or in nearby Isabela City but had difficulty moving around because of several road checkpoints set up by the army. He was seen tinkering with the bomb, which was concealed in his backpack, when it apparently accidentally exploded, according to Col Galvez.

Government forces have been alerted to look for another possible bomber, he said. Intelligence received by the military indicated the Abu Sayyaf had planned to detonate two bombs either as part of a terrorist plot or an extortion attempt on one of the business establishments in Lamitan or Isabela City, the provincial capital about 880 kilometres south of Manila.

Washington has blacklisted the Abu Sayyaf as a terrorist group for kidnappings, beheadings and bombings. More than 300 armed Abu Sayyaf fighters have remained mostly in Basilan and nearby Jolo island despite years of US-backed Philippine offensives, surviving on extortion, kidnappings for ransom and other acts of banditry.