ZAMBOANGA CITY — Authorities have tagged the Abu Sayyaf brigands as thode responsible in the powerful bomb explosion Friday that killed two people and injured 52 others in this city.
Mayor Ma. Isabelle Climaco-Salazar in a press conference Saturday at City Hall said the incident was related with last Monday’s foiled plan of Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) members to escape from the local detention facility.
The bomb exploded around 3:15 p.m. Friday in front of a pub house located across the bus terminal in Barangay Guiwan, this city. It was placed aboard a car that was parked in front of the pub house.
Salazar said the ASG plan was to set off the bomb to divert the attention of the security forces while the ASG detainees will stage jail break while another group would storm the detention facility to rescue their comrades.
“Their target was really to destabilize the government by creating a diversionary tactic,” Salazar added.
She said the main target was to rescue from the Zamboanga City Reformatory Center (ZCRC) the two brothers of Basilan-based Abu Sayyaf leader Furuji Indama, namely, Benzar and Musang.
Chief Insp. Julius Arro, ZCRC warden, disclosed there are 56 suspected members of the ASG, including the two Indama brothers, who are detained at the detention facility.
Salazar said that the ASG pushed through with their intention to set off the bomb although the plan to rescue their comrades last Monday was foiled.
“They were unsuccessful with the plan to rescue but they pushed through their intention,” she said.
The rescue plan was foiled when the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) personnel detailed at the ZCRC managed to confiscate Monday three caliber .45 pistols and 140 rounds of ammunition delivered to an ASG detainee.
The guns and bullets were concealed at the bottom of the two home-made concrete charcoal stoves delivered to an ASG detainee by three people, including two women, at the ZCRC.
Meanwhile, Dr. Rodelin Agbulos, City Health Officer, said the latest count of wounded victims totaled to 52 people.
Agbulos said that 10 of the 52 wounded victims were admitted in different hospitals in this city.
Agbulos said the number of fatalities remained at two.
One of the two fatalities, Reynaldo Tan, 38, expired at the hospital several minutes after the explosion while the other, Dennis Valente, died Friday night.