Abu Sayyaf eyed in Zamboanga bus explosionBy Julie Alipala
ZAMBOANGA CITY – The Abu Sayyaf Group is being eyed in the explosion that hit a passenger bus here Thursday night and injured six passengers, according to Zamboanga City Police Director Senior Supt. Jaime Mejia.
Mejia said they have elevated the police alert level to high status.
“Based on the description provided by the bus passengers and the bus personnel, descriptions fitted that of the people we are hunting down and they are members of the Abu SAyyaf Group,” Mejia told the Inquirer but apologized that identities are still being ascertained by the investigators.
Six persons, including two-year-old Mark Owen Palomar, were hurt in the bus explosion at Guiwan village in this city at around 9.40 p.m. The other five blast victims were identified as Rolando Padilos, Sheryl Posadas, Resis Gatchalian, Daniel Palanas, and Rochelle Sumpo.
Another blast was monitored in Suterville at past 11p.m. Investigation showed the second blast occurred near a mosque and a police detachment but no one was reported injured.
Initial probe also showed that an improvised explosive was planted by two suspects at the last left side bus seat of Rural Transit bus with body number 9224 which came from Pagadian City. Police said the two suspects boarded the bus in Barangay Culianan then got off shortly near Yubengco Mall in Barangay Putik.
Mejia said the bomb went off as the bus reached the corner of Atilano Loop in Guiwan barangay which is near the bus firm’s terminal. The explosion ripped off the rear end and the baggage compartment of the bus.
Crime Lab and EOD personnel were still gathering more evidence to determine the type of bomb used, Mejia said.
On the reported second explosion in Suterville, Mejia said investigators recovered concrete nails.
Four blast victims were brought to nearby hospital at Western Mindanao Medical Center and two at the Zamboanga City Medical Center.
Prior to the blasts, Mejia said they already received intelligence report of the ASG plan to bomb vital installations in Zamboanga City “before, during and after the end of Ramadhan.”
In between the two explosions, Mejia said they also evacuated teachers assigned at Licomo Island after armed men were reported seen coming from the nearby town of Zamboanga Sibugay.
“We cannot directly link the sightings of armed men in Tungawan moving towards the remote barangay in the east that linked Sibugay to the two explosions in this city,” Mejia added.