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4 dead as bomb hits Basilan vice mayor’s convoy

SOUTH COTABATO, Philippines – Four people were killed while 11 others were injured in a roadside bombing attack on the convoy of a local official in Isabela City, Basilan yesterday.

At the same time, another attack took place in Polomolok town where 19 people were injured after a bomb exploded in a passenger bus.

Police said an improvised explosive device (IED) placed in a tricycle cab was set off by a cell phone, killing the three aides of Vice Mayor Abdulbaki Ajibon.

The four fatalities were identified as Gregorio Delgado, Muhaymin Jalil, Ramil Omar and a certain Maulla.

Ajimon survived the attack, while 11 others were wounded in the blast.

Some of the injured were identified as Abdullah Alìh Ismael, former barangay chairman of San Rafael; Sattar Swaib Abdul, security escort; Nurhaida Tawasil de la Cruz; Hadji Amlon Sali Adam; Tupay Kalbi, security escort, who were all brought to Infante Hospital for treatment.

The convoy was passing through Barangay Sunrise in Isabela City when the bomb exploded around 1 p.m., police said.

Initial reports said the bomb was placed inside a tricycle parked across the house of Mayor Cherrylyn Santos-Akbar when the convoy of Ajibon passed by.

Ajibon was riding a van ahead of his pick-up truck.

The house of Akbar was slightly damaged with all the glass windows shattered by the blast. One of Akbar’s house occupants was injured after being hit by glass fragments.

Akbar, outgoing mayor of Isabela, condemned the attack and urged the police to investigate the incident.

Officials did not say if the incident was an assassination attempt against Ajibon but it was gathered that yesterday’s bombing attack took place in the same spot as an earlier one on May 31, 2012 where Ajibon also was the apparent target.

Ajibon will be running for mayor of Isabela in next year’s local elections.

He will be running against Jum Akbar, the incumbent governor of Basilan.

Gov. Akbar is one of four widows of the late Basilan Rep. Wahab Akbar.

The incumbent city mayor Cherrylyn Santos-Akbar is also the late congressman’s widow. She will run for vice mayor of Isabela City next year since she is now on her third and last term as mayor.

Gov. Akbar is also on her last term. She will run in tandem with Cherrylyn as mayor and vice mayor of Isabela City, respectively, in the May 2016 elections. – Roel Pareño/PhilStar

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