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Thursday, March 10, 2016

2 hurt in Sulu grenade blast as intel warns Abu Sayyaf may be hiring out to politicos

MANILA, Philippines - Two persons were wounded in a grenade attack in Jolo, Sulu Wednesday night.

And on Thursday, intelligence operatives in the southern province said local politicians could be paying off the Abu Sayyaf to help ensure victory in the May elections.

Brigadier General Alan Arrojado said the explosion that wounded bystanders Abdel Aziz Asiri, 30, and Haidar Hasim, 28, happened around 7:50 p.m. in Barangay Asturias, Jolo.

Investigators said it happened between the compounds of the Tigbao and Tan families.

An intelligence officer based in Sulu said the Abu Sayyaf was behind the grenade attack.

“What we’ve gathered is that these (Abu Sayyaf) teams deployed by their leaders are being used by some politicians, some of them aspirants, to threaten or even kill voters” who do not support them, the officer, speaking on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to discuss the matter, said.

The Abu Sayyaf, an extremist group that has increasingly turned to kidnapping for ransom, has ties to international terror networks and, recently, was reported to have sworn allegiance to the Islamic State. 

There have been allegations that the group often colludes with crooked local politicians and even security officials.

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