By UCA News
Suspected Muslim militants have ambushed a convoy of rubber plantation workers in the south of the country, killing six people and wounding 22 others.
The attack, believed to have been carried out by the al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf group, took place in Sumisip town in Basilan province earlier today.
Five of the dead were rubber plantation workers while the other was a government militiaman, a military spokesman said.
At least 60 workers were on their way to the plantation on four trucks when at least 10 gunmen opened fire on the convoy at around 6 a.m. local time before being fought off .
“The enemy withdrew. What our [militiamen] did was admirable because they fought the attackers very gallantly and repulsed them. Otherwise, there could have been more fatalities,” said Colonel Arthur Ang, the local military commander.
The military believes the rubber company’s refusal to bow to extortion might have been the motive behind the attack.
“[The rubber company] refused to hand over any extortion money,” Ang said.
Military spokesman, Captain Albert Caber, later said the attackers were led by Radzmil Janatol, an associate of Abu Sayyaf leader Puruji Indama, who has been blamed for a spate of shootings, kidnappings and bombings in Basilan province.