Gov’t forces tighten security after Zambo blast

Government forces tightened security checkpoints and patrols after a bomb hit a masjid in this city today (January 30).

Colonel Leonel Nicolas, the Task Force Zamboanga Commander, said intelligence units under the Western Mindanao Command continue to gather information on the explosion that hit Kamalhaldikan Mosque and left at least two dead and four slightly wounded in Sitio Logoy Diutay, Barangay Talon-Talon at 12:20am today.

Colonel Nicolas met with Ulama officials and masjid administrators at Mahad Moro in Barangay Sta. Barbara at 1pm today.

All the wounded victims, who are residents of Lamitan City, Basilan, were discharged from Zamboanga City Medical Center at 5:30am today.

Government troops recovered a safety lever, ball bearings, a fuse assembly, a spring striker, a part of a cock striker, and shattered pieces of a body casing in the blast site.

Declared dead were Haj Sattal Bato and Rex Habil, both 46 years of age.

Habil is the barangay councilor of Matatag, Lamitan City, Basilan, while the rest of the victims are vendors from Lamitan City.

Initial investigation disclosed that the victims, who are members of the Tabligh, were resting inside the masjid when the unidentified perpetrator switched the street lights off in the area and hurled the grenade into the mosque.

The Zamboanga City Police Office continues to investigate and establish the motives and identities of the perpetrators.

At 6am today, six members of the Tabligh boarded a private banca and brought the remains of Haj Bato from Baliwasan Seaside to Isabela City, Basilan.

At 6:30am, the remains of Habil were brought by six members of the Tabligh to Lamitan City.

“I urge the people of Zamboanga City to remain vigilant and to report any suspicious activities to authorities. Your cooperation will help your security forces to conclude speculations and thwart terror plots in the area,” said Lieutenant General Arnel Dela Vega, the commander of the Western Mindanao Command.

Security operations with the police will be tightened in light of the bomb attacks in Zamboanga City and in Sulu, added Lieutenant General Dela Vega.

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