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ARMM chief exec's convoy nearly bombed

 • 19:10 PM Thu Jul 16, 2015
John Unson
ARMM Regional Gov. Mujiv Hataman ( file)

COTABATO CITY --- Bandits on Wednesday tried to bomb a convoy led by Gov. Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao while en route to different project sites north of Basilan.Army and police intelligence sources said there were indications that the extremist Abu Sayyaf was behind the bombing attempt.The roadside bomb, planted along a highway in Sitio Urot near the town proper of Tipo-Tipo, went off minutes after the vehicles carrying Hataman and local officials had passed by early Wednesday.Hataman continued with his inspection of on-going infrastructure projects of the ARMM public works department in northern towns of the island province despite the incident.Hataman said police probers are unsure yet if it was their convoy that the bombers had indeed targeted. I don’t want to think it was me who was the target of that bombing,” said Hataman, known enemy of ASG forces in Basilan.Military reports reaching the office here of the ARMM’s Bureau of Public Information said the roadside bomb’s blasting mechanism may have possibly malfunctioned, causing its delayed explosion. Lumampas na kami noong sumabog ito,” Hataman said.He said there is also a possibility that the roadside bomb was meant to harm teams of soldiers dispatched to secure the route of the convoy.The provincial police office is still trying to establish the identities of the people behind the bombing attempt.Responding combatants of the Army’s 18thInfantry Battalion, led by Lt. Col. Enerito Lebeco, promptly defused two other roadside bombs found several meters away from the spot where the first bomb exploded.The deactivated improvised explosive devices were made up of live 81 millimeter mortar projectiles rigged with battery-operated blasting mechanisms attached to mobile phones.The Basilan police, in a report to the office here of the ARMM’s Humanitarian Emergency Assistance and Response Team, said the two recovered IEDs were secondary explosives to be detonated in case the primary bomb malfunctioned.

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