15 dead in Basilan blasts

Abu Sayyaf tagged in simultaneous attacks

ZAMBOANGA CITY—Abu Sayyaf bandits took their campaign of terror to the heart of Basilan on Tuesday, setting off bombs at a Roman Catholic cathedral, school grandstand and three other places, and clashing with government forces in Isabela City.

At least 15 people, including the brother of Abu Sayyaf leader Purudji Indama, were killed in the attacks staged by armed men wearing police and military uniforms, reports said Monday night.

Basilan Bishop Martin Jumoad appealed to local residents to stay calm and pray as he called on military and police officials to run after those responsible for the attacks, which happened for the first time in the city after more than 20 years.

“This is definitely the handiwork of terrorists out to sow fear among the people of the province,” Senior Supt. Antonio Mendoza, Basilan police chief, told reporters in Manila.

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