ASG uses Jolo bombing in hiding hostages

MEMBERS of the Abu Sayyaf (ASG) are taking advantage of the latest bombing incident in Jolo, Sulu in securing several of their hostages, most of whom are foreign nationals.

The latest bombing incident in the island, to which the group was tagged by the Philippine National Police (PNP) as the usual suspects, have killed two people and wounded 13 others.

A police intelligence officer said that they have received information that the ASG is cashing on the ‘latest bombing’ incident in moving some of their hostages in a much secure and safe location.

“There’s information that they are moving their hostages and using the media frenzy over the bombing of a commercial shop in Jolo to hide their movement,” said by the police intelligence officer who asked for anonymity.

The police intelligence officer said that at present that several factions of the ASG are holding not less five hostages, mostly foreigners, in Sulu province alone and some of them have been with the group for months.

“Somebody is trying to draw something here, but to what we have got is that some of the hostages were already move by their captors and we are trying to find out where they are now,” the police intelligence officer said.

The police source said that among the foreigners being held hostage by the ASG were Japanese national abducted in 2010; a Malaysian Gecko hunter snatched in 2001; a retired Australian army man and two European bird watchers.

But, one for sure, the intelligence officer said that the bombing of a shop in downtown Jolo last Saturday is a sure handiwork of the al-Qaeda linked based on bomb signatures or fragments recovered from the site.

Initial post blast investigation revealed that the suspects used an improvised explosive device (IED) fashioned out from ammonium nitrate fuel oil (AFNO) in bombing the Cleopatra Commercial Store along Serantes Street in Jolo.

The same intelligence officer said that the same type of IED’s was also popular among the numerous militant Islamic groups that are roaming around in Sulu province and in the rest of Mindanao area.

“The ASG Moro rebel groups and even communist rebels have also used the same type of IED’s in past bombing incidents being attributed to them,” the police intelligence officer said.

Although no group have claimed for the attack, the police official said that they are looking at extortion angle as the possible motive for the bombing that targeted the commercial store.

Those killed in the explosion were identified as Sindao Mangilala, 47 yr old vendor of Takut-Takut, Jolo, Sulu and Deonila Undug Asiri, 43-yrs old and a teacher from Buotan, Indanan, Sulu.

Wounded in the explosion were Hiji Sapiya, 46; Ferzia Aradji, 19; Jumadil Ajuljan, 40; Sali Asiri, 51;  Virginia Sumail Kissae, 41; Arhamin Aplak, 25; Karmina Abdulkahil, 49; Faujia Angkaya, 39; Abdul Aziz Tutuh, 50; Rufaida Tutud, 9; Nabil Tutuh, 17; Nilsan Julmani, 17; and Jumdail Jaujali, 60 all from Sulu. Anthony Vargas

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