Police urged to speed up identification of Zamboanga bombersBy Julie S. Alipala
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – Mayor Celso Lobregat urged police authorities Saturday to identify the motives and the people behind Thursday’s twin explosions here that injured seven persons, not six as initially reported.
Lobregat said the police should also look beyond the Abu Sayyaf as the possible perpetrators of the explosions.
Senior Superintendent Jaime Mejia, the city’s police chief, said that information provided by passengers of a Rural Transit bus whose rear was blown off by the first explosion pointed to members of the Abu Sayyaf. All of the casualties were passengers as no one was reported injured in the second blast near a mosque.
On Saturday, Mejia said the police were still trying to identify the perpetrators on the basis of computer-generated images drawn up from descriptions provided by witnesses.
Lobregat admitted that post-blast investigation found the bombs that ripped through the Rural Transit bus in Barangay (village) Guiwan around 9:40 p.m. and the one that exploded near a mosque in Barangay Suterville about two hours later were of the same origin and make.
Both were improvised explosive devices packed with nails and other bits of metal, and were remotely detonated, he said.
But Lobregat said that aside from the Abu Sayyaf, which uses similar types of bombs, the police should also consider other angles such as “extortion, personal grudge and even politics.”
“There might be groups out to discredit this administration,” he said without elaborating.