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2 hurt in Koronadal bus bomb attack

Roel Pareño, John Unson - The Philippine Star

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines — An improvised bomb exploded in a passenger bus in Koronadal City in South Cotabato yesterday, leaving two persons wounded.

Maj. Andrew Linao, spokesperson for the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom), said a Yellow Bus Line unit with license plate MWB 216 was traveling along General Santos Drive when the bomb went off at about 12:30 p.m.

A woman passenger and the driver of a tricycle behind the bus were wounded.

Initial investigation showed the bus conductor saw an unattended baggage containing shoes and tossed it to the rear portion of the bus. An explosion occurred after a few minutes, shattering the windows and the rear portion of the bus.

Army and police ordnance experts said there were indications that the improvised explosive device used in the attack was rigged with a blasting contraption that can be detonated from a distance using a mobile phone.

Linao said all units under the Joint Task Force Central were directed to intensify checkpoint operations and intelligence monitoring following the attack.

He said no group has claimed responsibility for the bombing. Previous incidents were blamed on the Dawlah Islamiyah and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).

As this developed, a BIFF militant who was among those wounded in a military offensive in Datu Salibo, Maguindanao on Monday succumbed to his injuries on Wednesday.

Community leaders identified the fatality as Abdul Patir.

The 6th Infantry Division (ID) said it received reports from local officials and barangay residents that seven terrorists, among them BIFF leader Abu Toraife, were wounded in the air and artillery strikes that targeted the hideout of BIFF men.

Brig. Gen. Eduardo Gubat, 6th ID commander, said they received reports that the BIFF would launch retaliatory attacks.

He said the BIFF has been trying to “project strength” to belie public perception that the group has weakened with the surrender of around 300 of its men in the past 18 months.

“It is not too late for the remaining BIFF members out there to yield, reintegrate into mainstream society via our local reconciliation program for the BIFF and its ally the Dawlah Islamiya,” Gubat said.

Meanwhile, in Bulacan, a grenade explosion rocked the residence of barangay captain Allan Galvez of Alagao in San Ildefonso on Tuesday.

Witnesses said an unidentified man hurled a grenade that landed under the Nissan Navara owned by Galvez.

An investigation is underway. – Emmanuel Tupas

SOUTH COTABATO

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