Bomb-carrying ex-Abu slain in scuffle with cops in Basilan

A former member of the Abu Sayyaf Group was killed Wednesday at a checkpoint while attempting to bring in a bag of improvised explosive devices hours before the holding of inaugural rites for newly elected officials in this city.

Lieutenant Colonel Cyril Santander, commanding officer of the 18th Infantry Battalion, said they received information that “lawless elements would transport another bomb intended for the celebration of the Lami-Lamihan festival.”

Santander said the active participation of the citizens and timely information from informants led to the supposed apprehension of Adil S. Akarab, one of the two suspected bomb couriers.

Akarab, 29, was intercepted at around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday at the checkpoint area of Barangay Sabong in Lamitan City along with an unidentified companion.

Both were riding on a black motorbike and carrying improvised explosives made of ammonium nitrate with fuel oil contained in 60mm mortar rounds, a composition attributed to anti-personnel mines. The explosives were inside a yellow sack.

When inspected, Akarab and his companion strongly resisted, leading to a brief encounter. Akarab died on the spot while his companion managed to flee.

Police Major Nurhaib Bungkac, Lamitan City police director, said Akarab was a native of Parangbasak village in Lamitan City, but his parents informed authorities during the investigation that the last time they saw their son was in 2020.

Bungkac added that it was only on Thursday that the family knew of the death of Akarab.

The security preparation in Lamitan was tight during the Lami-Lamihan festival until the official inauguration and oath-taking of elected officials on June 30. The inaugural rites and oathtaking were held inside a tightly secured gym of Lamitan.

“We have intensified checkpoint operations, so it was difficult to smuggle bombs and weapons,” Santander said.

Lamitan city mayor Roderick Furigay said he had no idea if the intercepted bomb was meant for the city, but acknowledged that such an act could not be disregarded.

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