By Hader Glang
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines
At least one person was injured Saturday as a Daesh-linked group is suspected of setting off a roadside bomb in the Basilan province in the Muslim south.
The bomb was planted by Abu Sayyaf militants on one side of a thoroughfare in the village of Dugaa in the town of Tuburan, said Col. Cirilo Donato, the Army's 104th Infantry Brigade commander.
The blast, which purportedly targeted a vehicle belonging to the town's mayor, occurred around 2:30 p.m. (0630GMT) and seriously injured the mayor’s driver and damaged his pickup-type vehicle, leaving it riddled with shrapnel holes.
But the mayor survived the bombing unscathed.
The mayor, identified as Durie Kalahal, is one of 12 mayors in Basilan backing the Philippines Armed Forces’ operations against Abu Sayyaf.
The Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit, loyal to him, killed more than a dozen militants in a series of clashes last year.
On Thursday, government forces captured two suspected Abu Sayyaf gunmen and seized assorted weapons and other war materials following a firefight in the town of Luuk.
Capt. Jo-Ann Petinglay, spokesperson of the Western Mindanao Command, said the two were caught hiding in the area while the soldiers were scouring.
She said troops from the Ranger Battalion were on a pursuit operation after a series of encounters with about 50 followers of Alhabsy Misaya earlier this week in the town of Panamao, also in Sulu.
The clashes left seven Abu Sayyaf members killed and five others wounded.