Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) OIC Secretary Eduardo M. Año salutes the bravery of government troopers whose sacrifice and heroism had averted a bigger incident and saved the lives of many people during Tuesday morning’s bombing incident at a checkpoint near Magkawit, Brgt. Maganda, Lamitan City, Basilan.
The DILG chief also condemned the violent incident which cost the lives of one enlisted personnel, three CAFGU Active Auxiliaries (CAA), and three civilians.
“On behalf of the DILG Family, I salute the sacrifice and heroism of our troops who laid down their lives in the fulfillment of their avowed duties of serving and protecting families and properties,” Año said.
The DILG Chief also directed all units of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Zamboanga, Basilan, and Sulu Tawi Tawi (Zambasulta) areas to be more vigilant and to intensify checkpoints following the bombing.
Año thanked the various stakeholders especially the Local Government Units for their cooperation with the DILG-PNP and for alerting government forces when terrorist groups enter their areas.
Members of the Citizen Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) were manning the said checkpoint when they pulled over a white dented utility van en route to Lamitan City proper just a few kilometers away.
It was later found out that unidentified individual was in possession of an improvised explosive device (IED) which was immediately detonated as the CAFGU and CAA units checked the van for anomalies. The vehicle exploded as he alighted the van for interrogation.
Killed during the incident were Corporal Samad Jumah, CAFGU Active Auxiliaries (CAA) Adzlan Abdula, Muid Manda, Titing Omar, Hermilito Gapo Jr. and Jerry Inso, who died in hospital.
The civilians who were killed include the wife of Omar, Hadja Radia Manda, and their 10-year-old son Garry; Rosa Inso and Rosida Titing.
Año said that the vigilance, courage, and sacrifices of government troops averted a much bigger incident which could have victimized a great number of innocent civilians had the vehicle reached the city proper.
He added that the government is waiting for the result of the investigation to determine what kind of bomb, identity of the driver, and other details to help establish the motive of the bombing.
“My deepest sympathies and condolences to the bereaved families of the government troopers and civilians whose lives had abruptly ended during this unfortunate event,” Año said.
Basilan Provincial Governor Jim S. Hataman Saliman also expressed his deep sympathy for this incident.
“To such valor and heroism, the Provincial Government highly salutes the fallen heroes and deeply sympathizes with their families, to include the families of the innocent civilian victims,” Gov. Hataman Saliman said.
Both Año and the governor assured the general public that they will do all possible means to get to the bottom of this incident, find out who are involved to bring them to justice, and restore order and peace particularly in the City of Lamitan and the entire province of Basilan.