Philippines: Cache of guns, explosives seized in south

Troops recover firearms from suspected Abu Sayyaf militants in troubled island province of Basilan

Philippines: Cache of guns, explosives seized in south

World Bulletin / News Desk

The Philippines’ military revealed Saturday that troops seized a cache of firearms during a law enforcement operation against the Abu Sayyaf militant group in a remote village in the troubled southern island province of Basilan.

Maj. Filemon Tan Jr., Western Mindanao Command spokesman, said in a statement that troops were conducting patrols in the village of Katipunan in Tuburan town when they came across a “suspicious” person who responded by firing shots.

The suspect then reportedly ran to a nearby house and alerted the occupants who ran off in different directions.

According to Tan, soldiers then conducted pursuit and later searched the vicinity, where they recovered an assorted variety of firearms, explosives and ammunition.

Among the weapons were one M14 with eight magazines, one M16 rifle with scope, two long magazines, eight short magazines and four rifle grenades.

"The troops continue to hunt the remaining members of the Abu Sayyaf Group and prevent them from occupying areas in Basilan again," Tan said.

Earlier this week, Philippine police revealed the seizure of high-powered firearms worth 6 million pesos ($124,385) intended to be transported from Manila to the country’s troubled south for the Abu Sayyaf.

National police chief Dir. Gen. Ronald dela Rosa said the weapons were intended for use “against government forces in Sulu [island province] and Basilan, as well as bombing operations”.

Army troops and marines have been engaged in offensives for around two months after President Rodrigo Duterte ordered security forces to "destroy" the group, which is still holding several local and foreign hostages in Sulu.

Since 1991, the Abu Sayyaf -- armed with mostly improvised explosive devices, mortars and automatic rifles -- has carried out bombings, kidnappings, assassinations and extortion in a self-determined fight for an independent province in the Philippines.

The group is notorious for beheading victims after ransoms have failed to be paid for their release.

It is one of two militant groups in the south to have pledged allegiance to ISIL, prompting fears during the stalling of a peace process between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebel group that it could make inroads in a region torn by decades of armed conflict.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 01 Ekim 2016, 13:22