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Police disrupt suspicious baggage in Zamboanga

ZAMBOANGA CITY – Police bomb experts disrupted late Saturday two abandoned baggage in Zamboanga City in southern Philippines on suspicion it contained an explosive, officials said.

Officials said a baggage was discovered at dusk on Saturday at the vicinity of Universidad de Zamboanga near Plaza Pershing and immediately disrupted it.

Mayor Beng Climaco said the disruption caused a “mild explosion.” “The mild explosion at the vicinity of Universidad de Zamboanga near Plaza Pershing late Saturday afternoon was a result of disruption executed by police authorities due to a report on unattended baggage that included a one gallon container.”

She said members of the bomb squad also disrupted an abandoned baggage at a lottery outlet in Labuan village later in the night.

“The disruption was part of the procedure in handling unattended baggage. The public is constantly advised to remain watchful, but calm and to immediately report to authorities the presence of suspicious persons, items or baggage, including suspicious activities happening in the surroundings as well as abandoned vehicles for (police) verification,” she said.

Disruptors utilize a water projectile shaped charge (an omni-directional format more commonly referred to as a “bottler”) to destroy improvised explosives by severing any detonation cord inside the device, rendering it futile.

Climaco did not say if there were explosives found in the baggage, but it came following a recent bombing of the Manly Massage Parlor in Zamboanga that killed one person and left several others injured.

Authorities said the Abu Sayyaf was likely behind the blast, the third of a series of attacks on massage parlors here.

Late last year, an abandoned bag containing five 40 millimeter grenades, three fragmentation grenades and a handheld radio transceiver, including ammunition and a pair of short pants, was also found in the village of Malagutay.

Soldiers and policemen cordoned off the area while bomb experts used projected water disruptor to destroy whatever explosives in the bag.

In October, army and police bomb experts also disrupted an improvised explosive abandoned at the Plaza Pershing.  The explosive was hidden in a thermos that contained nails and ammonium nitrate, a banned chemical fertilizer widely used by rebels in the manufacture of homemade bombs.

The Abu Sayyaf, blamed by authorities to the spate of bombings and killings in the southern Philippines, has recently pledged allegiance to the jihadist group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. (Mindanao Examiner)

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