A bridge in Patikul town blown up by Moro rebels in Sulu province. (Mindanao Examiner Photo)
ZAMBOANGA CITY (Mindanao Examiner / Jan. 8, 2012) – Rebel forces blew up a concrete bridge in the southern Philippine province of Sulu, but there were no reports of civilian casualties, officials said on Sunday.
Officials said the attack occurred in the village of Pangdanon in Patikul town late Saturday and troops were sent to the area the next day to assess the damage, but the bridge is now impassable to vehicles.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but authorities blamed the bombing to the Moro National Liberation Front and the smaller Abu Sayyaf group.
“Lawless elements in the area view bridges and roads as high speed avenues for security forces, instead of instrument for development. They would want to isolate their areas from intrusion,” Army Lt. Col. Randolph Cabangbang, a spokesman for the Western Mindanao Command, told the Mindanao Examiner.
Last December, rebels also bombed a concrete bridge in Tangan-Tangan Bridge in the village of Taung also in Patikul town, where the military maintains a marine base.
It was the second attack on the bridge since October last year. The rebels bombed the bridge to prevent military forces from crossing the village that connects to other areas in the town where the Abu Sayyaf and the Moro National Liberation Front are known to actively operate.
In September 2009, MNLF rebels detonated a roadside bomb in Sulu’s Indanan town and killing 2 US soldiers and a Filipino marine.
US Special Forces are deployed in Sulu since 2006 and aiding the Philippine military in defeating the Abu Sayyaf. Although security officials deny US forces were directly involved in combat operations, there were numerous reports from civilians that American soldiers actually participated in the operations aimed at capturing or killing militant leaders in Sulu and other areas in the restive southern region of Mindanao.
A US soldier was also killed and another wounded in a bomb attack at a roadside cafe near an army in Zamboanga City in October 2002. (Mindanao Examiner)