Davao port bombed; 15 killed
() - April 3, 2003 - 12:00am
DAVAO CITY — A huge explosion ripped through a wharf at the Sasa district here last night, killing at least 15 people and wounding 46 others.

Most of the victims were vendors and well-wishers at the Sasa wharf where the bomb, of still undetermined type, exploded at around 7 p.m.

Rescuers were seen picking up the wounded in the pier area near a row of food stalls and restaurants.

Initial reports said at least 23 people were taken to ambulances and rushed to the Davao Medical Center.

Witnesses said the bomb went off near a row of vehicles parked nearby, shortly after Filipina Princess I of the WG&A Shipping Lines had sailed for Manila.

Several vehicles, including a 10-wheeler cargo truck and an Isuzu Elf van, were hit with shrapnel, wounding their passengers, witnesses said.

Noting the magnitude of the blast, authorities initially said the explosive appeared to be the same type as the one that rocked the Davao International Airport last March 4. That bombing left 22 dead and 159 wounded.

A security official who did not want to be named said the blast appeared to have been caused by a powerful improvised explosive device.

Southern Mindanao police director Chief Superintendent Isidro de la Peña said probers are still checking on the type of explosive used in the latest bombing.

As this developed, President Arroyo directed Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte to coordinate with local law enforcement authorities in investigating the blast.

Duterte has been appointed crisis manager by Mrs. Arroyo following the Davao airport blast last March 4.

National Security Adviser Roilo Golez said Mrs. Arroyo will convene the Cabinet Oversight Committee on Internal Security (COCIS) to assess the damage report by Duterte.

Golez claimed the latest bombing incident was only part of a "regional conflict."

"Let’s not speculate, let the investigations be completed," he said.

Golez said Duterte was at the scene and "is on top of the situation."

Davao, with its two-fisted mayor, has taken pride in being the safest city in Mindanao.

Duterte and other officials rushed to the scene to supervise rescue operations and cordon off the area.

As of late last night, no one has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Blamed on the separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the March 4 airport bombing was the worst terrorist attack in Asia since the bombings in Bali, Indonesia on Oct. 12, last year. The MILF denied involvement in the airport bombing.

MILF spokesman Eid Kabalu said his group wanted a thorough investigation of the latest blast "because the civilians are the ones suffering."

"We did not have anything to do with that. Like what we said before, we are willing to cooperate in any investigation. The MILF does not hit civilians," he said.

Kabalu said that immediately after last night’s bombing, an aide of Duterte called him up to ask about possible MILF involvement in the blast. - With Marichu Villanueva, Roel Pareño, AFP

A SHIPPING LINES CABINET OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE CHIEF SUPERINTENDENT ISIDRO DAVAO DAVAO CITY MAYOR RODRIGO DUTERTE DAVAO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT DAVAO MEDICAL CENTER DUTERTE EID KABALU MRS. ARROYO
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

SIGN IN
or sign in with