AFP not ruling out ‘other groups’ in Basilan blast

MANILA The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is not discounting the possibility that other groups, apart from the Abu Sayyaf, could be behind Tuesday's foiled attack in Lamitan City, Basilan that claimed the lives of 11 people, including the suspected terrorist, and wounded seven others Tuesday.

AFP spokesperson Col. Edgard Arevalo made this announcement Wednesday following reports that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) owned up to the Basilan incident.

"Any terrorist group or organization can conveniently claim responsibility and ride on the incident for their own glorification. Jumping into it will be like aiding their narrative and lending themselves (the people) as instruments of terrorists' propaganda," Arevalo said.

"Nevertheless, we are not discounting the possibility that they (ISIS) are indeed responsible just as there is also a possibility that other group besides the Abu Sayyaf Group could be responsible in that dastardly and cowardly terrorist act, he added.

Reports indicated that troops near the Magwakit Detachment in Barangay Colonia, Lamitan City intercepted a white van containing improvised IEDs around 5:50 a.m. Tuesday.

The vehicle exploded while undergoing inspection, killing one soldier, five CAFGUs and four civilians, including the driver - who was believed to be the suspect. Also wounded were one CAFGU and six members of the 9th Scout Ranger Company.

The IEDs were intended for targets in downtown Lamitan City and masterminded by veteran Abu Sayyaf leader Furuji Indama, Arevalo earlier said.

He added that the attack was in response to the growing number of ASG terrorists voluntarily surrendering to government forces and causing the bandit group to lose ground in Basilan. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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