A destroyed structure is seen at the site of an explosion at Barangay Maganda on the outskirts of Lamitan city on the southern island of Mindanao on July 31, 2018. Ten people, including troops and civilians, were killed when an explosion tore through a van at an army checkpoint in the southern Philippines on July 31, as authorities warned the blast could be linked to a wider plot by Islamic militants. / AFP PHOTO / Richard FALCATAN

Two government militiamen were killed while two others, including a civilian asset, were wounded when an improvised explosive device (IED) went off in Sumisip, Basilan at past noon yesterday. The fatalities were identified as Rit Iklaman, 41, and Ligaya Ajanal, 36, both of the Citizen Armed Forces Geographical Unit Active Auxiliary (CAA).

Col. Carlos Madronio, chief of the Basilan police, said Ajanal and Iklaman died at the scene of the incident, which occurred at around 12:30 p.m. in Barangay Limbo Cadis. Taken to the hospital for treatment were CAA member Musab Balaman, 37, and civilian asset Bibot Sabtalan.

Madronio said the victims were part of an anti-crime operation launched against a faction of the Abu Sayyaf bandit group led by Tawakkal Bayali. Police said the victims could have tripped on a bomb believed planted by the bandits.

Bayali is a sibling of the late Abu Sayyaf leader Pasil Bayali, who was killed on June 3 when state security forces overran his lair in Barangay Guiong, Sumisip. The victims’ remains were retrieved from the blast site and turned over to their families.

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